Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

What Did 629 Chronic Back Pain Sufferers Find Out?

Chronic back pain is a common patient complaint in our office.  Often times these patients tell us they were told they have weak back muscles.  That leads me to ask the following questions. Who told you that you have weak back muscles? How did they know you have weak back muscles? Have your back muscles ever been tested?

Were you given specific back exercises and retested to see if they became stronger?

How do you know those exercises worked?

Pointed questions, no one answers because no doctor ever tested their back muscles.  But more important questions to ask are, “Do chronic back patients have weak back muscles?” and “If you strengthen the low back muscles of chronic back patients does the pain lessen?”  To answer those questions a study was performed.

What 629 Chronic Back Suffers Found Out About The Strength Of Their Back Muscles?

MedX Lumbar Extension Test

In this study, of 895 chronic back pain suffers 629 were still in the program and completed the study at the end of one year. Our focus will be on them.  Over 100 never started the program and others dropped out for a variety of reasons. The testing and exercises were performed on MedX lumbar extension rehabilitation equipment.  MedX equipment been shown to be valid and reliable.

The Chronic Back Pain Sufferers Tested Were Previous Multiple Treatment Failures

These chronic back patients were tough cases!

So our first question is answered.  Yes, chronic back patients have weak back muscles, nearly 50% weaker than normal!

The Chronic Back Pain Treatment

The treatment involved progressive, resistive exercises of the isolated lumbar spine on the MedX lumbar extension machine, just like the one we have in our office.  The patients also did aerobic exercise and strength training of other muscles at each visit. Treatment was discontinued when either of the following occurred:

The average number of treatment required to complete the program was 18 but ranged between 4 and 35.

A home exercise program was instituted when treatment goals were reached.

Results Of The Chronic Back Pain Treatment

Static and dynamic strength and range of motion all increased significantly to normal or near normal levels.

The 13 Month Follow-up


The Conclusions of the Study

Our Recommendations For Chronic Back Pain Patients

If you are a chronic back pain sufferer, do not give up hope.  Odds are you may not have to “live with it”. These results are typical of the results we have seen in our office, both for chronic back and neck pain.  If you have chronic neck pain, we also have a MedX cervical extension machine.  Our office is the only facility that has the MedX equipment in eastern Pennsylvania outside of York, Lancaster, and Philadelphia.

If you would like to read the entire article, it is available here