The Mckenzie Extension
Acute low back pain is one of the most common things we treat in physiotherapy. Often patients will present with back pain that is very painful, that has come on within the last few days. Often the patient will know what has caused the injury – such as bending awkwardly, lifting a heavy load, lifting a very light load (as is often the case). But just as often, they won’t know exactly what triggered their pain, but instead report that they woke the next day, or found their back got increasingly worse over a day. They then find it too painful to bend over, to get up from sitting and to sit down. They experience muscle spasms to the lower back and pain across the lower back and sometimes into the buttock on one side and down their leg (we call this referred pain).
This is when physiotherapy can really turn things around for people. As physiotherapists we will ask you a million questions, run you through a few movement tests, palpate the area and determine the cause (this is your diagnosis). As part of your treatment plan, we will give you a set of exercises to complete. I am going to talk you through one of my favorites, one that I like to call First Aid for your disc injury. This exercise is an absolute must for acute back pain caused by a disc injury. It is pain relieving and helps to regain your back range of motion.
The McKenzie Extension.
Start by laying on your tummy on the floor (or your bed if you think you may not be able to get down or back up). Place your hands in a stop sign position either side of your body with your hands next to your shoulders.
Part 1: using your hands, press your shoulders up from the floor keeping your hips down onto the ground. Prop onto your forearms. This should be a pain free movement. Then lower yourself flat onto your tummy again.
Part 2: if you can achieve part 1, then you can try part 2. From the elbow prop position and using your hands, press your shoulders and chest up until you are in a “cobra” position with your hips still on the ground. Only go to where you are comfortable with no pain. Then lower yourself down to the elbow prop position and then flat to your tummy.
Repeat either part 1 or 2 ten times. This exercise should be repeated often throughout the day, at a minimum every 2 hours. If you can’t get down on the floor or bed, I recommend you start in a standing position arching backwards to where you are able again with no pain. Repeating 10 times every couple of hours.
If you have acute back pain currently, or you suffer an episode in the future – come see us as soon as possible and we will get you on the road to recovery faster.
This exercise is one of the exercises you will be taught at your physiotherapy assessment, and should only be attempted when you have been assessed by your physiotherapist and shown how to do it correctly.
So, if you are experiencing lower back pain come see us a Miami and Lakelands Physiotherapy and we can help you get on top of it.
Miami Ph: 9534 4111
Lakelands Ph: 9542 9999