Comparison of Female Geriatric Lumbar Extension Strength: Asymptomatic Versus Chronic Low Back pain Patients and Their Response to Active Rehabilitation


In many cases, lumbar extension weakness is the manifestation and common pathway of all lumbar spinal disease processes. Pain due to lower back pain is highly subjective, but accurate quantification of strength and changes in strength is objective and can be highly reliable. Based on that premise, this study aimed to determine the response of geriatric females to lumbar extension strengthening exercises. The purpose of this study was to describe this population’s lumbar extension strength compared with that of their healthy counterparts, evaluate the efficacy of an isolated lumbar extension muscular strengthening program, and evaluate the patient’s perception of pain before and after the rehabilitation program.


This study compared lumbar-extension strength between healthy asymptomatic geriatric females (HEAL) and symptomatic geriatric females (INJ) seeking medical attention for chronic low back pain. Before the program, range of motion (ROM) and strength were significantly different between the two groups. The INJ group used the MedX Lumbar Extension Machine to perform dynamic exercises twice a week and were eventually reduced to once a week. The average length of treatment was 97 days and 20 visits. After the program, ROM and INJ strength improved significantly and were not different from those of the HEAL group. Subjective pain ratings were significantly reduced by 60% and weights used for the exercises significantly increased by 71%. The study concluded that this information confirms the notion that many back pain sufferers have weaker lumbar extension strength and that some symptomatic geriatric women can increase with progressive resistance exercise, which leads to a decrease in low back pain.

Key Findings

  • After INJ group rehabilitation there was no significant differences in strength or ROM between INJ-post and the HEAL group
  • Relative increases in torque ranged from 39% – 84% from the flexed to extended position
  • Subjective ratings of pain decreased significantly from 5.3 to 2.1 between INJ-pre to INJ-post
  • 15% increase in INJ’s ROM

Keywords: Geriatric Lumbar-extension, strength, MedX, women, MedX Lumbar Extension Machine, geriatric, range of motion, pain

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