I've had low back pain on and off for six years. I've tried many different treatment programs from drugs to bracing to exercise. I'm seeing a new physical therapist who wants to try stabilization exercises. Is there any way to tell if these will work for me?
A group of physical therapists from around the U.S. have been working on this problem. They would like to find a way to predict who can get better doing stabilization exercises (SEs). They are also looking for clues to predict who won't get better. So far they've found four factors related to success with SEs. they call this the Prediction Rule of Success. They've also found a group of factors they call the Prediction Rule of Failure. Here's what they are: Factors Predicting Success
  • Age under 40
  • Able to lift the leg straight off the table to at least 90 degrees
  • Abnormal lumbar motion
  • Positive prone instability test Factors Predicting Failure
  • Positive test for fear-avoidance
  • Pain rating
  • Decreased lumbar range of motion
  • Three or more episodes of back pain Ask your therapist which factors are present in your case. The presence of three or more factors predicting success increases your chances for a good result with SEs.