Kelley Southard - June 27, 2022

This 1 McKenzie Extension for Back Pain is Wonderful

About the McKenzie Method

About the McKenzie Method

A physical therapy routine based on the McKenzie extension program has been shown to be effective in the treatment of lumbar disc herniations with radicular pain.

The McKenzie method is a class-based classification and treatment approach for low back pain. It was first developed in 1981 by physical therapist Robin McKenzie of New Zealand. A clinical evaluation using this method systematically assess movements and positioning of the patient to determine how to reduce or eliminate their back pain or sciatica. The goal after evaluation is to give the patient one exercise to be performed on your own. While the McKenzie Method focuses on patent empowerment and self-treatment, a physical therapist can direct patients’ treatments to ensure proper use of technique and optimal relief.

McKenzie’s exercises are very effective at centralizing radicular back and leg pain. These exercises put the back in extension in an effort to gently apply forward pressure on the lumbar discs and can be done at home. Typically, people with back pain that lasts for three months or longer are good candidates for this program. When used in combination with manual therapy, McKenzie exercises have the same effects as other lumbar rehabilitation techniques. A physical therapist can recommend McKenzie Extensions that properly fit your needs and direct you in how to safely use them at home!

McKenzie Extension Exercise to Relieve Your Stubborn Back Pain

McKenzie Extension Exercise

A physical therapist can educate and instruct you on the rationale and then mechanics of proper lumbar extension exercises in an effort to centralize and eliminate disc bulge symptoms of numbness and/or tingling pain into the leg. There are many different exercise you can use following the McKenzie Method, but prone propping or watching tv is highly effective and for everyone. This simple exercise can be done before getting out of bed in the morning to ease away any aches from sleep or in the evening while watching tv and relaxing from a long day. Either way, relief is only a few steps away.

  1. Lay face down on your bed with your feet hanging off the end and you hand resting near your head.
  2. Slowly lift your head and chest off the bed, propping yourself up on your elbows. Your torso and legs should remain on the bed. Keep your neck relaxed.
  3. You can prop a pillow or two under your hips to straighten our your back, then slowly prop yourself up.
  4. Prop yourself up on your forearms for 15-20 seconds. For a deeper stretch you can straighten your whole arms out lifting yourself higher off the bed. Then slowly lower yourself back down to the bed.
  5. Relax your body and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat as needed.

How to Modify the McKenzie Extension

How To Modify the McKenzie Extension

  • If you experience increased pain while propping up, you can place a pillow underneath your hips. The pillow straightens your back, creating a smaller arch as you prop up and can ease pain.
  • For an increased stretch you can fully extend your arms while propping up to create a deeper arch in your back. Be careful not to over exert your back muscles.
  • If holding the propping position is too difficult, you can hold the up position for a moment, then lower back down, and then move back up in a push-up like motion.
  • A standing lumbar stretch can also be used, but direction from a physical therapist is recommended first.

McKenzie Extension Exercises to Relieve Your Back Pain

For more McKenzie Extension exercises like the tv watching, find a physical therapist on BetterMeTHERAPIES. You can search for a physical therapist by location, specialty, or insurance to find your perfect match! You can also check the BetterMe BLOG for more at-home exercises like this one!

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