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Welcome back for day two of the 12 Days of Stretch-mas! Today we’re showing you one of our favorite stretches to help reduce back pain – Repeated Extensions in Standing.

The Science Behind the Strech

This stretch is part of the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. The McKenzie Method identifies the mechanical cause of pain and provides patients the tools needed to self-manage their pain.

But what does this mean?

Simply put, if certain movements or positions cause or worsen your pain, your pain is likely the result of a mechanical issue. Some examples of this include stress on soft tissues from poor posture, scarring of the tissues from a previous injury, or an obstruction at the joint such as a pinched nerve.

If you struggle with chronic low back pain or sciatica, the McKenzie Method and its related exercises have been proven to be more effective than non-McKenzie based treatment plans [1]. If you’re interested in learning more about the McKenzie method and how to take control of your low back pain, you can stop by our clinic to purchase a McKenzie Method “Treat Your Own Back” book full of tools to help you manage your pain!

Step-by-Step Stretch Guide


To start, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Next, place your hands on your pelvis. Your palms should rest slightly above your glutes. Once you are in position, slowly lean back over your hands until you feel a stretch, and then return to the starting position. (Note: As you lean back, you may notice a bit of discomfort. If you have pain from this stretch, you’re leaning too far back!)

If you struggle with balance or feel unstable doing this exercise, move in front of a countertop or table. The counter will rest about where your hands would be, and you can lean back over the counter while keeping your hands lightly placed on top of it for additional support.

After 10 repetitions, take a break to see how your back feels! Start to move around a bit… do you notice a difference in your back pain? If you do, try another 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions. Use this stretch anytime you notice your pain returning. Better yet? Aim to do these at least twice a day to prevent worsening pain.

Final Notes

If you’ve been to our office before, chances are you’ve seen another patient doing this stretch. As McKenzie Certified Therapists, this stretch is one of our “go-to’s” for patients with low back pain, and a stretch you’ll see most of our staff doing each day after a long day of treating patients! Here at MPT, we truly want the best for our patients, so we won’t give you an exercise or stretch we wouldn’t do ourselves!

Ready for more? Then come back tomorrow for the progression of this exercise: Repeated Extensions in Lying!



[1] Lam, Olivier T., David M. Strenger, Matthew Chan-Fee, Paul Thuong Pham, Richard A. Preuss, and Shawn M. Robbins. 2018. “Effectiveness of the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy for Treating Low Back Pain: Literature Review with Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 48 (6): 476–90.