Exercise Rehabilitation for Musculoskeletal Conditions and Injuries

Lower Back Pain

If you suffer from back pain, you are not alone!

  • Lower back pain is one of the most common and costly medical problems in modern societies. 1

  • Chronic lower back pain leads to a loss of strength and range of movement and ultimately compromises an individual's functional ability and quality of life.

  • People generally become less active when they are suffering from lower back pain and therefore implementing an exercise programme which incorporates lower back strengthening, as well as cardiovascular and general strength training exercises is particularly important. 2

MedX Lumbar Extension Machine

  • Many lower back problems are muscular in origin and insufficient strength of the lumbar muscles appears to be a common factor related to the development of back pain. 3,4 

  • Like any other group of muscles, weakness in the lower back should be treated with active movement and overload.

  • Research has found testing and exercising on the MedX Lumbar Extension Machine to be safe and effective.

  • The ExerScience Clinic offers numerous services with the MedX Lumbar Extension Machine which include:

    • One-off testing to assess lower back strength and compare against age-matched normative data

    • Packages which include dynamic strengthening sessions, as well as periodic testing

Lulu on medx 2


  • The two most common forms of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  • In New Zealand, arthritis is the single greatest cause of disability with more than half a million people affected by arthritis in their lifetime. 7

  • Whilst there is no cure for arthritis, there is a large body of evidence demonstrating that exercise rehabilitation can help. 7,8

Benefits of Exercise for Osteoarthritis

  • Reduces pain & joint stiffness and improves range of movement 9

  • Improves muscle strength around affected joints 10

  • Prevents functional decline 9

  • Improves mental health and quality of life

  • Provides better outcomes than usual care 10

Benefits of Exercise for Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Less pain & greater physical function 11

  • Improves psychological health

  • Beneficial effects on risk factors for heart disease 13 


Pre- and Post-operative Rehabilitation

  • Rehabilitation after total joint replacement is used to help avoid the persistence of impairment and optimise functional recovery. 

  • There is also emerging evidence that pre-operative exercise is beneficial for post-operative functional recovery. 14

Benefits of Post-operative Rehabilitation

  • Resistance training 3 times per week for 12 weeks after total hip joint replacement resulted in:
    • reduced time in hospital
    • increased muscle mass
    • 25% increase in quadriceps muscle strength of the operated leg
    • improved functional performance and skills 16
  • Exercise rehabilitation two months after total knee replacement, followed by home based exercises resulted in:
    • significantly longer walking distances compared to the control group
    • less pain, stiffness and difficulty performing daily activities 17


1. National Health Committee. 2015. Low Back Pain: A Pathway to Prioritisation. 2. Risch, 1993. Lumbar Strengthening in Chronic Lower Back Pain Patients. 3. Pollock, 1989. Effect of resistance training on lumbar extension strength. 4. Mooney, 1995. The Effect of Workplace Based Strengthening on Low Back Injury Rates: A Case Study in the Strip Mining Industry. 5. Nelson, 1995. The Clinical Effects of Intensive, Specific Exercise on Chronic Low Back Pain. 6. Nelson, 1999. Can Spinal Surgery be Prevented by Aggressive Strengthening Exercise? A Prospective Study of Cervical and Lumbar Patients. 7. Arthritis New Zealand, 2016.  http://www.arthritis.org.nz/information/ 8. Fransen, 2015. Exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee: A Cochrane systematic review. 9. Gür, 2002. Concentric versus combined concentric-eccentric isokinetic training: effects on functional capacity and symptoms in patients with osteoarthrosis of the knee. 10. Lange, 2008. Strength training for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review.  11. Hurkmans, 2009. Dynamic exercise programs (aerobic capacity and/or muscle strength training) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 12. Neuberger, 2007. Predictors of exercise and effects of exercise on symptoms, function, aerobic fitness, and disease outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis. 13. Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou, 2013. Individualised aerobic and resistance exercise training improves cardiorespiratory fitness and reduces cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 14. Hoogeboom, 2014. Merits of exercise therapy before and after major surgery. 15. Grindem, 2015. How does a combined preoperative and postoperative rehabilitation programme influence the outcome of ACL reconstruction 2 years after surgery? 16. Suetta, 2004. Resistance training in the early postoperative phase reduces hospitalization and leads to muscle hypertrophy in elderly hip surgery patients—a controlled, randomized study. 17. Moffet, 2004. Effectiveness of intensive rehabilitation on functional ability and quality of life after first total knee arthroplasty: a single-blind randomized controlled trial.