Questions and answers
What causes back pain?
Reasons why back pain develops include injury, wear and tear or a strain. The pain triggers a protective response as we try to avoid movements that provoke it. If the pain continues for any length of time or recurs, then this protective response becomes entrenched causing in most causes a weakening of the deep back extensor muscles. However, the role of these muscles is to ensure that the spine remains erect and stable. If the muscles are too weak, vertebral discs and joints are put under undue strain and this encourages further wear and tear and loosens the ligaments. If the spinal displacement is significant, this in turn causes facet joint dysfunction and muscular tension - the spinal architecture is increasingly out of balance. This process ultimately causes disc damage.
Why is Medical strengthening Therapy more successful than other therapies?
To strengthen deep back muscles we need to immobilise the pelvis. This cannot be done by gym-type exercises or using traditional training machines. We can only target the back extensor muscles and so build them up if we immobilise the pelvis and so prevent the stronger gluteal and leg muscles from working. The strength test done before starting therapy ensures that therapy is targeted and the right resistance is used.
What are the origins of Medical Strengthening Therapy and has it been the subject of scientific research?
Current strengthening therapy can be traced back to the development of therapy machines that allowed the isolation of muscles close to the spine so that they could then be strengthened. The machines were developed in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States under the overall direction of Arthur Jones, the founder of the Nautilus and MedX companies. The therapy process was developed in conjunction with the University of Florida and included tests on individuals with healthy backs in order to obtain reference data.
In Europe, the Association for Medical Strengthening Therapy (Gesellschaft für Medizinische Kräftigungstherapie)was founded in 1993. This is an international grouping of doctors and physiotherapists specialising in Medical Strengthening Therapy for the non-surgical treatment of spinal problems and the rehabilitation of the entire musculoskeletal system. The aim of the Association is to promote and carry out research into Medical Strengthening Therapy as an active treatment for the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system of patients with chronic problems, particularly of the back and neck.