MedX: The Importance of a Strong Back

One of the primary myths surrounding back pain is that exercise, especially weight training, should be avoided because of back pain.

The importance of exercise and a strong back is often underestimated in the case of both acute and chronic LBP. Studies have found the recovery from acute back pain occurs more quickly with the right type and progression of exercise. Even chronic back pain shouldn’t keep you from the activities you enjoy, including exercise.

Your back needs movement to be healthy like any of the other joints in the body. Exercise helps maintain your range of motion and prevents your muscles from weakening, in turn allowing you to heal more quickly. Underworking your back can be equally as detrimental as overworking your back.

The deep muscles that stabilize the spine are small and often inhibited by the body’s response to pain. This guarding response can result in weakness during reduced activity levels associated with prolonged periods of pain. In turn, allowing these deep stabilizers to be overridden by the larger muscles of the hips and back. This can result in abnormal muscle firing and pain as you begin to resume daily activities. Unless these larger muscles are prevented from being used during back strengthening exercises, it is difficult to directly target the correct muscles groups required to have a strong spine and full return to normal function without pain.

The lumbar MedX machine has proven to be extremely effective in the treatment of back pain. The patented restraint system provides an effective way to isolate the deep spinal muscles by preventing movement in the pelvis and firing of the hip and leg muscles. This isolation allows the spine to move smoothly and restore normal firing of the deep spinal stabilizers through a pain free range of motion.

Another benefit of the MedX is the ability to test an individual’s low back strength effectively with comparison to normal values taking into account the patient’s age, weight, and gender. This allows us to determine how strong your back should be if it was healthy.

Following this baseline test, a training program with individualized progression of resistance levels is performed, in addition to core stability exercises, in order to normalize the overall physiologic strength of the lumbar spine, decrease pain, and reduce susceptibility to future back injuries

Back pain is common, but a strong spine can allow you to continue doing the things you love.

I thought all Physical Therapy exercises were the same?

As professionals in Physical Therapy, our knowledge and expertise lie in the way people move and the way the human body works. We are able to assess, examine, and tailor specific treatments for each individual patient. Our goal is to help you and your body facilitate opportunities for you to heal, become more proficient with the way you move, adapt to your specific environments/goals, and ultimately return you to a level of functioning.

 

A large part of that consists of specific corrective exercises we prescribe. Corrective exercises are given specifically to you based on your individual assessment and will progress and change as you progress through your time with us. These corrective exercises are used to address the imbalances, movement compensations, and other issues found with the way you might be moving that are limiting your ability to perform certain things in your life – that you would otherwise be able to perform.

 

In the same way your Medical Doctor will prescribe a medication according to specific dosages, we think of these corrective exercises and corrective movements the same. The number of sets, the number of repetitions, and the frequency given to you by your Physical Therapist is important. The first thing you often hear when receiving a prescription is to “take it as it prescribed.” This is how corrective exercise prescriptions from your Physical Therapist are viewed as well. We design a specific exercise program for you to be followed “as prescribed.”

 

We understand that life can be busy, even when you might not be performing at the level you would like to be performing. Like anything, habits take some time to be formed. We have a few suggestions for you to help you establish a good routine with your corrective movement prescriptions at home:

  1. Talk to your Physical Therapist and ask them questions, making sure you understand what they are prescribing
  2. Perform them at the same time each day – this will help establish a routine schedule
  3. Couple the exercises with another already formed habit – for example, if you take a blood pressure medication at the same time each day, follow that up with your corrective exercises OR perform them during a commercial break.
  4. If you are feeling like the exercises are time consuming talk to us about it! This should never be the case.

 

Whatever you do, avoid not performing corrective exercises. They are the movement medicine given to help get you better and back to the things you love doing! As always, if you have any questions or would like to talk to one of our professionals call one our six clinics located throughout the great Knoxville area!