McKenzie Method Exercises
Lying (low back) Extension (A): Lye on your abdomen with your hands placed under your shoulders, palms down. Now slowly straighten your arms, lifting your shoulder and chest into the air while keeping your pelvis on the floor. Focus on relaxing your ab muscles and low back are while you hold this arched position for 10-20 seconds. Returns to the starting position and repeats this exercise 10 times. Go easy on the first couple of repetitions, after a few times the movement has to be made to your maximum extension range. Your arms should ultimately be locked out but you may need to work up to that level. The aim of this exercise is to make the lumbar spine relax after the maximum extension, in the relaxation phase. You may experience central low back pain but this should gradually wear off. The Mckenzie method actually acknowledges that centralized pain in a good sign (as opposed to peripheral pain).
Standing (low back) Extension (B): Stand straight with your feet wider than shoulder width apart (wherever you feel comfortable and stable enough to arch back). Place your hands on your low back (lumbar region). Your hands should stabilize your pelvis (which should remain over your legs) while you lean backwards. Continue to lean back as far as possible. This exercise has to be repeated ten times. This exercise is very similar to the lying extension exercise but can be performed in more environments. This exercise is important in the prevention of the onset of low back pain during or after prolonged sitting. This exercise should be performed often before pain occurs.
Mckenzie neck exercises:
Head retraction: With proper upright posture, slowly retract your head (with chin tucked) as far as possible, hold for 4 seconds or so and relax. Rest and repeat for 10 repetitions (per session). Perform 6 sessions spread out evenly throughout the day.
Neck Extension: Retract head fully (as explained above) but then look up to the sky (as far up/back as possible) and rotate your head from side to side as if saying “NO”. All the time pulling your head back as far as possible. You only need to move your head about an inch each way and it should be performed at a fairly quick smooth pace. Again do this for about 4 seconds and then return to a relaxed position. You should perform 10 reps per session). Perform 6 sessions spread out evenly throughout the day.
Side bends of the neck: Sit in a chair with head retracted. Keep head straight ahead and bring your ear toward your shoulder. To maximize the stretch, use your hand to slowly pull your head closer to your soulder.
Neck Rotations: Retract your head as far back as possible (as with all the Mckenzie neck exercises).Rotate your head to the side as far as possible. Basically look over (or behind your shoulder as far as possible while not moving your torso. Hold the position for 4 seconds and rotate to the other side. You should perform 10 reps per session). Perform 6 sessions spread out evenly throughout the day.
If you are experiencing pain at the time of exercise you should notice that the pain is centralizing and decreasing in intensity. If not perform the stretch to the less painful side until it does. Also make sure you are doing Head retractions and rotations after neck rotation exercises. As a precautionary exercise you can further rotate your neck but using your hands (on chin and back of head) to further rotate the neck.
For prolonged period of sitting make sure you are sitting properly and take breaks (or interrupt bad posture at regular intervals).