The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a post-operative early isolated lumbar extension muscle strengthening program on pain, disability, return to work, and power of back muscle after undergoing an operation for a herniated lumbar disc.
75 patients were randomized into either an exercise or control group. Six weeks following surgery, the exercise group undertook a 12-week lumbar extension exercise program. The assessment included measures of lumbar extensor power by the MedX Lumbar Extension Machine and muscle mass of multifidus
and longissimus by computed tomography. All patients completed the visual analog scale and the Oswestry disability index to assess pain and disability, respectively. Return to work data were also investigated. After the exercise program, significant improvements were observed in the exercise group versus the control group for lumbar extensor power, the cross-sectional area of multifidus and longissimus muscle, and the visual analog scale score. The percentages of returning to work within 4 months after surgery were significantly greater in the exercise group than in the control group, 87% versus 24%. The results of this study support the positive effects of post-operative early lumbar extension muscle strengthening program on pain, return to work, and overall strength of back muscles in patients after operation in a herniated disc.
Key Words: MedX Lumbar Extension Machine, herniated disc, port-operative, lumbar extension muscle strengthening, pain, return to work