• Taruna Rijhwani

Does it matter which Exercise when it comes to your Back Pain?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019



#Backpain, #Sciatica, #MckenzieMethod, #MckenzieMDT, #healthwatcherspt, #TarunaRijhwani, #PhysicalTherapy, #Reston, #NovaMDTSpecialists, #NeckPain, #FairfaxCounty, #LoudounCounty


We all have been guilty of trying to google our symptoms on the internet & back pain is definitely one of them. Most of us suffer from back pain at least once in our lifetime & hence it is only natural to look up information for a “quick fix”. But what most people don’t realize that just like fever, back pain is only a symptom and not the problem itself. As an Orthopedic Board Certified Physical therapist, I would perform a good examination to understand the source of this symptom. Now this does not mean that you should run to get an MRI at the very first sign of back pain but a clinical exam could also be used to analyse the source & classify the problem before treating. Hence, I would like to use this article to break down some of the intricacies that a qualified Mckenzie trained clinician will use in making this decision. (Mckenzie is a subspecialty of physical therapy who see orthopedic issues like back, neck, shoulder pain etc)


Every person suffering from back pain and/or sciatica has a different history like how there pain started, how long they had the problem, what activities make their pain better or worse and lastly whether there are symptoms are constant or intermittent meaning are they present all the time or do they come and go?


Following this comes the assessment portion, again there are several factors that need to be looked at. A good neuro exam tells us that if there is any nerve involvement (sciatica) followed by looking at range of motion that is looking at your spinal movements in all directions both the way in which your spine moves & how far it moves.


All these factors help a Mckenzie trained clinician make a clinical decision about what exercise might help you & that is then confirmed by having YOU perform the exercise right in front of them & checking some of these movements & pain symptoms (baselines) after.

This exercise that fits your back pain like a missing piece of puzzle is called scientifically as Directional Preference. Now there is a lot of research supporting this concept especially in the management of low back pain talking about the value of how choosing a Specific exercise to manage your pain & other symptoms can help you recover much faster than doing random general exercises (Long et al, 2004).


So if you or someone you know has had low back pain and/or sciatica symptoms for a long time, have tried several different treatments before & get only temporary relief for the pain to return back in a few days, they probably haven’t been prescribed the right dosage of their specific exercise making sure it is performed correctly & going as far as end range. Your spine deserves a thorough mechanical evaluation, so go ahead & get one!


Want to know more?

We also know not everyone is ready to commit to regular physical therapy appointments, and that’s why we offer our Free Information Guide! This Guide is for people in our community who want really valuable, expert information about their Back Pain or Sciatica problems. We know it’s confusing out there with all of the information floating around on Google and Facebook, and this is a valuable first step towards getting some real answers for your problem.



PS – If you found this information helpful, please share this with a friend or on your Facebook feed.

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Health Watchers Physical Therapy & Wellness

11250 Roger Bacon Dr,

STE 5, Reston, VA 20190

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Monday- Fri 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Additional available by appointment