Women with Back Pain: Have Fun and Be Active

Former research suggested that physical activity may not be as important as many health-care professionals have assumed in back pain recovery.

In a newer study published online this month, the study population was far greater, with over 1800 participants versus only 100. The results showed that exercise can indeed help improve back pain, especially among women.

Specifically, researchers sought to compare how people spent their leisure time. They assessed what participants did to have fun, categorizing their leisure time as being sedentary or having low, moderate, or high activity. Researchers were also looking at body mass index (BMI) as possibly having an effect on back pain recovery. The study also compared the male and female participants.

The study found that compared to a sedentary leisure time, all measured levels of physical activity increased the females' recovery from persistent back pain.

These results were only true for the women in the study. Among the men, leisure time physical activity did not significantly affect reduction in back pain. Among both genders, BMI was not associated with back-pain recovery.

The study author's concluded, "Regular leisure time physical activity seems to improve recovery from persistent back pain among women."

For patients who are curious about how they can utilize their free time to improve their back pain, a consultation with a chiropractor can help you design a treatment and exercise plan.


Bohman T, Alfredsson L, Hallgvist J, Vingard E, Skillgate E. The influence of self-reported leisure time physical activity and the body mass index on recovery from persistent back pain among men and women: a population-based cohort study. BMC Public Health 2013 April 25; 13(1): 385. [Epub ahead of print].