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Does an Aerobic Exercise Improve Outcomes in Older Sedentary Nonspecific Low Back Pain Subjects? A Randomized Controlled Study

Barni, Luca, BHSc, DO, PT; Calabretta, Lucrezia, MSc; Lepori, Luca, PhD; Pasquetti, Pietro, MD; Gulisano, Massimo, MD; Freddolini, Marco, PhD

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April/June 2018 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 88–94
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000177
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Purpose: To demonstrate that a tailored, supervised aerobic exercise after a general back-school rehabilitation program will improve outcomes for older patients with low back pain more than the general back-school program alone.

Method: Twenty-two older patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain were recruited for this study, and they were randomly assigned to a control or an interventional group. Both groups received a standard back-school program, while subjects in the intervention group received an additional 15 minutes of the aerobic training program. The numerical pain rating scale (NPRS) and the Roland-Morris Questionnaire (RMQ) were used to assess pain intensity and disability before and after the 5-week treatment in both the participants' groups.

Results: Reduction percentage was found significantly increased in the interventional group when compared with the control group for both the NPRS and the RMQ index (P < .05).

Conclusion: An adapted aerobic exercise, together with a standard back-school program, was effective in reducing pain symptoms and disability in low back pain subjects rather than the back-school program alone. This should be used as an advice to practitioners while managing low back pain.

Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Florence, Italy (Dr Barni and Ms Calabretta); Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Italy (Dr Gulisano); Laboratorio congiunto di Analisi del Movimento, “Fondazione ONLUS: In cammino...”, Fucecchio, Italy; (Dr Freddolini); Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, University of L' Aquila, and INFN, Gran Sasso National Laboratories, L' Aquila, Italy (Dr Lepori); and Careggi Hospital University, University of Florence, Italy (Dr Pasquetti).

Correspondence: Marco Freddolini, PhD, Laboratorio congiunto di Analisi del Movimento, “Fondazione ONLUS: In cammino...”, Piazza Spartaco Lavagnini 1, 50054 Fucecchio (FI), Italy (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.