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Exercises in the Treatment of Low- Back Pain

Jonathan A. Drezner, MD; Stanley A. Herring, MD

Practice Essentials Series Editors:
Kim Harmon, MD; Aaron Rubin, MD

THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE - VOL 29 - NO. 8 - AUGUST 2001


Exercise is an important part of treating—and preventing—back pain. Your doctor will show you which exercises are right for you and tell you how often, how long, and in what order you should do them. Often, relief for back pain is a goal that can only be achieved by a team approach of physician, therapist, and patient. Your full participation is essential.

Part 1. Initial Exercises
The exercises your doctor recommends as you begin treatment will help you control pain and maintain muscle tone. When done correctly, these exercises should cause little or no pain. Figures 1 through 4 demonstrate some exercises to help you begin.

[Figure 1]

[Figure 2]

[Figure 3]

[Figure 4]

Part 2. Stabilization and Strengthening Exercises
As you get stronger, the next goal is to improve back strength and function. Figures 5 through 9 show exercises that are designed to stabilize the spine while keeping it in a safe position.

[Figure 5]

[Figure 6]

[Figure 7]

[Figure 8]

[Figure 9]

Part 3. Hip and Hamstring Stretches
Tight hip and hamstring muscles often contribute to low-back pain. Exercises that stretch these muscles (figures 10 and 11) are an essential part of recovery and may prevent new pain from developing.

[Figure 10]

[Figure 11]

Remember: This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Before starting an exercise program, consult a physician.


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