Exercise Helps Prevent Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Almost 8 in 10 U.S. citizens will experience back problems at some point in their lifetimes. Since this is a major medical issue, much research has gone into it. A recent study reviewed previous research. It confirms that exercise may prevent low back pain or at least make it less severe.1

Researchers examined a total of 16 studies to find correlations. There were over 4,600 participants across all studies. They found that, compared to those who did not exercise, people who did were 33% less likely to develop low back pain.

An analysis of 5 of the studies showed that those who exercised were 38% less likely to become disabled as a result of low back pain, compared to those who did not.

These studies examined many different aspects of fitness from stretching, strength training, and aerobic fitness.

A limitation of the review is that it focuses on people in the general population. This leaves a possibility of exercise impacting people who already have low back pain differently. They also did not look into whether one type of exercise was better than another. The results are applicable only to exercise in general, not any specific activity. Regardless, this review shows that exercise does have benefits when it comes to managing low back pain.


  1. Shiri, Rahman, et al. “Exercise for the Prevention of Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials”, American Journal of Epidemiology: Oxford Academic. Oxford University Press, 19 Oct. 2017, academic.oup.com/aje/article abstract/doi/10.1093/aje/kwx337/4557909?redirectedFrom=fulltext.
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