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McKenzie Exercises for Low Back Pain

Prone position propped on hands

McKenzie exercises were developed in the 1950s by physical therapist Robin McKenzie. Robin discovered this method by observing that some patients were relieved in extension. It can be used in the treatment of many problems such as mechanical low back pain where flexion is painful.

When to Perform McKenzie Exercises

However, what you need to do is to consult your doctor or physiotherapist before treating yourself. Remember, these exercises can do more harm than good in some cases.

Who Should not Do These Exercises?

Doing exercises that involve low back extension can be harmful in some cases.

And most importantly, if your pain increases with these exercises, you should stop doing these exercises.

Benefits of McKenzie Exercises

According to McKenzie, lumbar lordosis is reduced in patients with low back pain. This causes the pain to continue. Therefore, the exercises target normal lumbar lordosis.

McKenzie Exercise Program

Physical therapist trained in the Mckenzie method will create a suitable exercise prescription for you. This exercise program may include:

1.Prone position lying flat (patient lies flat on their stomach)

2.Prone position propped on elbows (patient lies flat on their stomach and props themselves onto their elbows with the spine in extension)

3.Prone position propped on hands (patient lies flat on their stomach and props themselves onto their hands with elbows in full extension, with the spine in extension)

4.Standing lumbar extension (patient stands upright with feet shoulder-width apart, and puts hands on the lower back while extending the spine)

Your physical therapist can add similar exercises targeting spinal flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion to your program.

If you have back pain, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting any kind of exercise program.


Mann, Steven J. ,McKenzie Back Exercises, StatPearls [Internet], 2022 Jan

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