Enhancing function in older adults with chronic low back pain: A pilot study of endurance training

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Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of a bicycle endurance program in older adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP) and to identify correlates of exercise adherence. Design: Prospective cohort. Setting: Residential facilities and a tertiary care hospital. Participants: Adults with CLBP aged 55 years and older. Of 29 subjects who agreed to participate, 3 (10%) were deemed ineligible at baseline. Nineteen subjects (73%) were women, and the median age was 72 years. Interventions: Subjects were assessed at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks by using standardized questionnaires, physical examination, and endurance testing by a physical therapist. Subjects received a bicycle and instructions to exercise 3 times a week for 12 weeks at a set wattage. A trained rescarcher collected exercise data weekly. Main Outcome Measures: The Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), the lumbar spinal stenosis symptom severity and function scales, and kilocalories were used to assess change. Results: At baseline, subjects were moderately impaired (mean SF-36 physical function score, 52.6). Eighteen (65%) completed the trial. At 12 weeks, physical functioning (SF-36) improved by 11%, mental health (Mental Health Inventory 5-Item Questionnaire) improved by 14%, and CLBP symptoms decreased by 8%. Reasons for withdrawing included illness, family issues, and bicycle-related discomfort. Conclusions: The bicycle program was safe and effective for improving functional status and well-being. © 2003 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.




Iversen, M. D., Fossel, A. H., & Katz, J. N. (2003). Enhancing function in older adults with chronic low back pain: A pilot study of endurance training. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 84(9), 1324–1331. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0003-9993(03)00198-9

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