Dr. Brian Reive, Chiropractor, discusses the Medx Lumbar Strengthening System and how it can help you tackle persistant back pain issues by building strengthVisit YYC Sport & Spine to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reive
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The problem of back pain that keeps returning, even with treatment, is very common. Why is this? Most likely it’s because your back is weak.
Medical studies show that when you try to strengthen your weak back, your body tries to protect it by moving at the hips. The glutes and hamstrings (butt and leg) take over from the smaller and weaker spinal muscles. This is especially true if you have back pain. One of the most important back muscles to strengthen, if not the most important is the Multifidus. This is a deep lumbar stabilizer, and now known to be an important proprioceptive centre in the back. Proprioception is the sense of body position and body movement, sometimes described as the sixth sense.
If the Multifidus is weak – you will not only have a physical lack of strength and stability, you will also have a neurological lack of proprioception and stability. (I will dive into the neuroscience of this in a later post). This is why your back pain keeps coming back.
So how is the Medx better than traditional strengthening exercises? Why does it work so much better?
First – it allows us to test the strength in your back, comparing you to your peers (age, sex, and weight). If you test well, weakness of the back muscles is not likely the issue. If you do test weak, it is most likely a big part of the problem. Now we know!
Second – this equipment isolates the back muscles so they actually do the work as opposed to your glutes and hamstrings – It provides pelvic stabilization.
One study comparing back exercises with and without pelvic stabilization showed that the group with stabilization had significant increase in lumbar strength at all angles and significant decrease in pain, where the no-stabilization group had no increase in strength and no decrease in pain.
What about the abs?
Most people think that you need to strengthen your abs to get rid of back pain, however, research shows that only 20% of people with back pain have weak abs.
On the other hand – another study shows that 80% of people with chronic low back pain have weak back muscles! Medical research also shows that people with decreased circulation to their back muscles have chronic back pain. The Medx greatly increases circulation to the back muscles and helps hydrate the discs (you will definitely feel the pump).
In another study of 895 chronic low back pain patients – 76% had good to excellent results, and patients with radicular or referred pain (sciatica) had the same results! These patients had seen an average of 3 MD’S, and failed 6 different types of treatment, including epidural steroid injections, facet injections, traction, chiropractic, medication, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation prior to responding to Medx Lumbar rehab.
(2) The effect of trunk muscle exercises in patients over 40 years of age with chronic low back pain. Journal of orthopedic science 2000 volume 5 number 3
(3 ) The relationship between weak low back muscles and pain. Correlation between MRI changes in the lumbar Multifidus muscles and leg pain. Clinical Radiology Feb. 2000 volume 55, number 2
(4) The clinical effects of intensive specific exercise on chronic low back pain: a controlled study of 895 consecutive patients with 1 – year follow up. Orthopedics Oct. 1995, volume 18, number 10