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Today we are joined by Chapman Fu, the Clinical Director at The Physiotherapy & Rehab Centre, to talk about the McKenzie Method: a series of seven back exercises specifically designed to help sufferers of chronic lower back pain. This simple, repeatable method can help improve your lower back mobility and range of motion so you can get on track to living pain-free.

Video Transcription: 7 Exercises for Back Pain Using the McKenzie Method

The McKenzie Back Exercises are a series of seven exercises. These exercises can help many chronic lower back pain sufferers to restore their lower back mobility and functions. It may not be suitable for every individual's lower back pain condition and certain exercises could be too painful for some individuals. If you have difficulties with these exercises, do not continue and seek professional guidance.

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Exercise #1 Lying Face Down:

Lie face down with your arms beside your body, and the head turned to one side. Stay in the position and relax for two to three minutes. It helps to relax, unload and straighten your back. You can practice this exercise up to eight times a day, or every two hours. For extra support, you can place a pillow under your stomach.

Exercise #2 Lying Face Down in Extension:

Lie face down, then place your elbows under your shoulder so you can lean on the forearms. Stay in the position for two to three minutes. It helps to restore some backward bending curve of your lower back. You can practice this exercise up to eight times a day, or every two hours.

Exercise #3 Extension in Lying:

Lie face down, place your hands under your shoulders. Straighten your elbows and push the upper body upward as much as possible. Maintain this position for two seconds, and repeat ten times. It helps to restore a more backward bending curve of your lower back. You can practice this exercise up to eight sets a day, or every two hours.

Exercise #4 Extension in Standing:

Stand upright with your feet apart, place your hands on your lower back and bend backward. Keep your knees straight. Maintain this position for two seconds, and repeat ten times. It does not stretch your lower back backward as much as exercise #3, but it is convenient and can be done anywhere. You can practice this exercise up to eight sets a day, or every two hours.

Exercise #5 Flexion in Lying:

Lie face up with your knees bent. Bring your knees up towards your chest. Hold your knees with your hands for two seconds, and repeat six times. It is the first step to help restore forward bending motion of the lower back. You can practice it up to four sets a day.

Exercise #6 Flexion in Sitting:

Sit on the edge of a steady chair with knees and feet well apart. Bend the trunk forward from an upright position and try to touch the floor with your hands for two seconds. Then return to the upright position, and repeat six times. This is the transitional step to help restore forward bending motion of the lower back. You can practice this exercise up to four sets a day.

Exercise #7 Flexion in Standing:

Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend forward and run your fingers down your legs as far as you can comfortably reach while keeping your legs straight. Do not hold and immediately return to the upright position. Repeat six times. This exercise helps to restore full forward bending motion of the lower back. You can practice this exercise up to two sets a day.

Practice these exercises with patience and progress gradually only after you have fully mastered the previous level. If you have difficulties or do not feel comfortable doing these exercises, do not continue and seek out a physical therapist for professional help.

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