A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain

Healthcare (Basel). 2016 Apr 25;4(2):22. doi: 10.3390/healthcare4020022.


Back pain is a major health issue in Western countries and 60%-80% of adults are likely to experience low back pain. This paper explores the impact of back pain on society and the role of physical activity for treatment of non-specific low back pain. A review of the literature was carried out using the databases SPORTDiscuss, Medline and Google Scholar. A general exercise programme that combines muscular strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness is beneficial for rehabilitation of non-specific chronic low back pain. Increasing core muscular strength can assist in supporting the lumbar spine. Improving the flexibility of the muscle-tendons and ligaments in the back increases the range of motion and assists with the patient's functional movement. Aerobic exercise increases the blood flow and nutrients to the soft tissues in the back, improving the healing process and reducing stiffness that can result in back pain.

Keywords: aerobic fitness; non-specific chronic low back pain; pedometer; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Review