Home Exercise Can Improve Spinal Osteoarthritis Pain

Every Little Bit Can Help Reduce Spondylosis Pain

If you have spinal osteoarthritis (also called spondylosis), your doctor may send you for physical therapy to help alleviate some of the pain. But what happens when your physical therapy sessions are over? It turns out that picking up a home exercise program, such as yoga or doing the exercises your physical therapist taught you, has long-term benefits in reducing your spinal osteoarthritis pain.

Lower Back Stretch for SpondylosisDoing back exercises at home after you finish physical therapy can help you keep spondylosis pain at bay. Always discuss with your doctor and/or physical therapist what exercises you should be doing.

In a recent study out of California, researchers examined how often people exercise on their own 6 months after being in a physical therapy program. The study focused on patients with osteoarthritis in the spine or the knee. The researchers wanted to know whether the frequency of home exercise programs had any bearing on the amount of pain relief the people reported. The study, titled “Effect of home exercise program performance in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or the spine on the visual analogue scale after discharge from physical therapy,” was published in the September 2012 issue of the International Journal of Rehabilitation Research.

How the Study Was Conducted

The researchers examined data on 48 adults who were diagnosed by their doctors as having osteoarthritis of the knee or spine and were then discharged from physical therapy for at least 6 months. In all cases, the physical therapists recommended that everyone do a home exercise program following their release from physical therapy.

Investigators recorded several factors to see how much pain relief patients experienced related to their home exercise programs. They evaluated patient demographics, how much pain each person felt on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain ever felt), and how many days per week each person performed their home exercise programs.

What the Researchers Found

In a nutshell, the more often people in the study did home exercises each week following their discharge from physical therapy, the less pain they felt. Those who did home exercises 4 to 7 times per week rated their pain 5 out of 10 on the pain scale, whereas those who didn’t do any exercises at all in a week rated their pain at 6.9 out of 10 on the pain scale.

What This Study Means for You

The results of this study suggest that just by adding an exercise plan for at least 4 days per week to your at-home routine following physical therapy, you can improve your pain relief. There are several different kinds of exercises out there and each one is suitable for different kinds of conditions. In fact, our video series on exercises for lumbar spondylosis offers specific stretches you can do at home that may help your spondylosis back pain.

Before starting any at-home exercise routine, however, be sure to check with your doctor to see whether certain exercises you have in mind might be best suited for your body and conditions.

Taking control of your own treatment by adding a home exercise routine is a great way to manage your own pain at your own pace. Even if 4 days per week of home exercise is too challenging to start, something is better than nothing and it’s a simple thing you can do to help improve your osteoarthritis pain.

For more information on exercises to prevent back pain, flip through our slideshow on how to keep a healthy spine.

Updated on: 03/28/13