What if All Movements are Inconclusive?

If you cannot discern any improvement from any of the movements previously described, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t benefit from this self-treatment technique.  It is not easy to perceive improvement initially.

If this is the case, then it is probably safer to focus on lumbar extension exercises: 80% extension, 20% flexion.  This means for ten repetitions, make eight of them extension and two of them flexion.


Doing back extensions in the prone position.


For a more intense extension force, straighten out your elbows and hold the position for 20 seconds.

The logic behind this is that the flexion position of the low back is the mechanically disadvantaged position, whereas extension is the strength and stability position.

Lumbar flexion separates and “unlocks” the facet joints (located directly behind the big vertebral bodies), which decreases stability of the spinal segments since  those joints are designed to prevent excess rotation and bear some of the body’s weight, which they can’t do if they are not articulating (locked together).

For example, slouching is lumbar flexion, which weakens back muscles over time and places excessive pressure on the discs.  The angle of the lumbar vertebrae in prolonged flexion pushes the disc material backwards (towards the rear) which promotes disc herniation.  This is one reason why most cases of disc herniation (bulge, tear) are towards the back of the disc, not the front.

NEXT:  When Lumbar Flexion Still Can Be Useful

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