Frequently Asked Questions
Why does back pain cause muscle weakness?
Pain inhibits the local muscles from functioning to their optimum and full range. This reduction in activity causes the healthy muscles to rapidly decline in size and strength. You can see this change clearly following a knee injury. The thigh muscles begin to weaken within 6 hours of a knee injury. The same physiological reaction occurs in the back muscles.
Is there research supporting medical Spinal Strengthening?
Yes. In fact there are over 75 peer-reviewed articles supporting the use of the Medical Lumbar Extension Machine in the treatment and prevention of low back pain.
Does Pilates provide the same type of therapy?
NO! Pilates helps stimulate and control the lower abdominal muscles to help back pain and also helps provide a degree of segmental control of the spine through range. However, Pilates cannot fully strengthen muscles such as the important lumbar extensors through range, because it does not isolate the lumbar extensors in order to strengthen them and it does not exercise these muscles to fatigue, which is a scientific requirement to regain full strength.
Why is medical Spinal Strengthening not available throughout New Zealand?
The main reason that this very effective evidence-based treatment is not readily available is because the medical rehabilitation machines are very expensive and require significant training to be able to produce the most effective results. These costs are prohibitive for most health professionals. The therapy is widely available throughout Europe and more recently in Australia and Asia. Functional Physio physiotherapists have been utilising the medical Spinal Strengthening Therapy for over ten years now and are leaders in this field in Australasia.
How long does a course of medical Spinal Strengthening Therapy take?
The usual number of treatment sessions for chronic or recurrent back pain is 12 to 18 treatments at two to three times a week. Science suggests that the muscles need to be stimulated to fatigue at least twice a week to improve their strength at the optimal rate. In the first three weeks the neural messages from the brain recruit the maximum number of muscle fibres of the targeted muscle and then the muscle begins to grow in size, strength and function. This is when the patient will notice the biggest improvement in their symptoms and function.