Best exercises for mechanical low back pain
What exercises are good for patients with mechanical low back pain?
Exercise, stretching, and weight loss are important in any rehabilitation program for mechanical low back pain. People who are more fit have fewer episodes of low back pain and recover from an episode of back pain more quickly. Exercise and stretching are important in maintaining the strength and flexibility of the spinal segments.
Flexion exercises (Williams’ exercises) may be prescribed to decrease the load on the posterior facet joints and to open the intervertebral foramina. In contrast, extension exercises (MacKenzie’s exercises) are thought to decrease compression load on the intervertebral disc and may be useful for patients with radiculopathies due to a herniated or degenerative disc. Finally, spine stabilization exercises (abdominal strengthening and proper pelvic tilt with the knees flexed) are important to decrease the load on pain-sensitive structures and may prevent recurrent episodes of mechanical low back pain/strain.
Muscle tightness in the gluteal, hamstring, and hip flexor muscles may also contribute to low back pain; therefore, stretching programs for the spine may include these areas as well. Some back exercises are designed for specific etiologies of low back pain and may actually exacerbate pain from a different source. As such, referral to a physical therapist is recommended to help design exercise and stretching regimens that may be tailored to the individual patient.