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The Best Way to Strengthen Back Muscles

Everybody knows low back pain is very common.  It is the leading cause of disability in the US.  What are some of the best ways to help low back pain?  Just about everyone with low back pain has back muscle weakness.  This muscle weakness can lead to accelerated wear and tear of the discs in the spine, and more back pain.  Strong muscles protect against low back pain. That is why testing back muscle strength is so important to help low back pain.

At Muscle IQ Physical Therapy in Provo we have the best tools for measuring back strength.  The DAVID machines are computerized medical exercise machines. Measuring the strength of the back muscles is very important for helping low back pain.  A full evaluation of the back is not complete without knowing how weak the muscles are and knowing which muscles are weak. With the DAVID testing we are given scores for 6 different directions showing the forces generated and how those forces compare to other people of the same age, height, weight, and gender.  It is very common for patients with severe low back pain to be 60% to 70% below normal strength. Once we know how weak the back muscles are we can better plan the most appropriate strengthening program.

In addition to measuring strength, the “David” machines are precision back exercise machines.  Each machine exercises the back in a specific motion and direction. The hips and knees are held in place while the back does the appropriate movement.  A computer screen shows you how far to move and how fast to move. The person exercising is asked to rate the difficulty level of the exercise after they are done with each set.   The answers are then used to determine if the weights are appropriate or if they need to be lower or higher the next visit.

RESEARCH:  Proof of Effective Treatment for Low Back Pain.

For those of you who like research data, one recent study, (J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Jul; 27(7): 2139–2141.), showed that the DAVID machines are an effective component for treating “...disc bulge, disc protrusion, disc herniation, lumbar facet arthritis, spondylolisthesis and canal stenosis.”  Study participants showed a 25 point reduction in disability after 6 weeks of therapy with the DAVID machines. Average pain scores were reduced from 5 out of 10 down to less than 1 out of 10. Participants showed an improvement in sitting, standing and walking.  This study concluded that the DAVID machines were quite effective in relieving pain, improving function and reducing disability in patients with low back pain

So, to get the best results for helping low back pain, it is important to thoroughly measure back muscle strength.  The DAVID machines are the best back muscle testing devices available. Appropriate exercise is vital to increasing back muscle strength.  It is important to keep working on strengthening until the muscle testing shows a return to normal strength. Strong muscles protect the back and will help to prevent reoccurring back pain.

For more information, visit our website at or give us a call at 801-310-0851.

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