Exercise
is Medicine

JUNE NEWS LETTER

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.”
Carol Welch

What is lower back pain?
Low back pain is so common that most adults will experience at least one episode of lower back pain during their lifetime. Although sometimes very painful, often lower back pain symptoms are not caused by a serious problem and subsequently can be resolved with some care. Physical activity plays an important part in the resolution.
Occasionally, low back pain is caused by serious disease or damage to the tissues of the back, such as after a traumatic event, like a car accident or a fall. When back pain is so severe that it wakes you during the night, does not reduce no matter how you move or change position, accompanies numbness or tingling in your bottom, legs or feet, or accompanies change to your bowel or bladder control, it is best to see an orthopedic specialist.

How to manage common low back pain with exercise?
Being as physically active as possible helps manage low back pain, as long as exercise is done within the restrictions that may come with pain. Exercise is a powerful tool for strengthening muscles supporting the spine and therefore the lower back, but also stretching muscle tightness that might be responsible for pain. While pain might be limiting, staying active prevents further loss of physical fitness, muscle strength and cardiorespiratory function. Staying active therefore helps you ensure that other aspects of your health do not deteriorate.

As you start to recover, your exercise program’s intensity should increase. Specific exercises that increase your range of spinal movement and strengthen the trunk and abdominal muscles are important. The evidence suggests that doing these specific exercises post-back pain, can help prevent future episode of lower back pain. To keep physically improving, your exercise program must become increasingly more difficult; this is called graduated training.


Depression and exercise:
Depression is a common, potentially debilitating condition characterized by sadness, loss of interest and/ or low self -worth. Depression may also manifest as disturbances in sleep, concentration, appetite, or as persistent fatigue. Symptoms of depression may occur alone, or concurrently with chronic illness, such as diabetes, or subsequent to chronic injury. Major depression is associated with an increased likelihood of early mortality, primarily due to cardiometabolic disease.

Why is physical activity or exercise important in the management of depression? People who undertake regular physical activity or exercise, even at very low levels, are less likely to experience symptoms of depression. Exercise has a moderate clinical effect on depressive symptoms and may be as effective as psychological or pharmaceutical therapies for some individuals. Physical activity and exercise is effective in reducing symptoms of depression even for people experiencing other mental disorders. Perhaps more importantly, regular physical activity and exercise is a well-established strategy for weight management, improving diabetes control and reducing the impact of cardiovascular disease that often occurs in mental ailments including depression.

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