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Proof that treating the whole spine works best for Low Back Pain

That moment when you stand up, or bend slightly to put something away and your low back screams at you in pain. Whether it’s chronic or once in a while, you go to your favorite/local chiropractor, describe the pain in your low back, they evaluate you and start working with your neck. Wait, what?

You’re thinking the doctor needs hearing aids. We've all been there during our initial journey into holistic care. If the chiropractor is wise, they've continued their education and have discovered the value of working with the entire body as a unit. The head bone is truly connected to the tail bone and needs to be treated that way.

When this happened to me, I was fortunate enough to have found a Pettibon Chiropractor who incorporates rehab as part of the treatment (others I have tried could not address the root of my pain). He had me wobble on a therapeutic chair to restore motion in my low back, that was is in pain, then perform cervical traction. As I performed the traction, I could feel the relieving stretch that moved from the neck down my spine while breathing in during the stretch and then exhaling when standing back up. Repeating this a number of times it was surprising the relief it added to the lower back.

These “warm ups” increased my mobility prior to an adjustment. Treatment was amazingly pain free and brought even more relief.

Getting things moving and realigned is great, yet it’s like cleaning a cut that needs stitches and leaving it open. To keep the good work that’s been done a body needs to strengthen involuntary postural muscles. Body weighting systems address so many issues in our technology driven everyday life. It closes the loop in good rehab systems.

Since home rehab is part of any rehab process, I have these tools at home for daily use. They are my first go to on the rare occasion something happens over a weekend. Being able to restore motion, strengthen and rehydrate disks is key to eliminating back pain.

The other stretching & strengthening tools I use are: 6-Way Stretch Strap, Thoracic Roll, weighting system and spinal molding fulcrums.

I was thrilled to read this extract this morning on a recently published paper “The Effects of adding Forward Head Posture Corrective Exercises in the Management of Lumbosacral Radiculopathy: A Randomized Controlled Study.” It reminded me of my own journey that began before going to work for The Pettibon System. The research resembles the tools I’ve personally used and know the benefits it provides. Enjoy the read:

1. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2015 Feb 19. pii: S0161-4754(14)00276-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.11.009. [Epub ahead of print]

The Effect of Adding Forward Head Posture Corrective Exercises in the Management of Lumbosacral Radiculopathy: A Randomized Controlled Study.

Moustafa IM1, Diab AA2.

Author information:
• 1Assistant Professor, Basic Science Department, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt. Electronic address:
• 2Assistant Professor, Basic Science Department, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt.



The purpose of this study was to determine the immediate and long-term effects of a multimodal program, with the addition of forward head posture correction, in patients with chronic discogenic lumbosacral radiculopathy.


This randomized clinical study included 154 adult patients (54 females) who experienced chronic discogenic lumbosacral radiculopathy and had forward head posture. One group received a functional restoration program, and the experimental group received forward head posture corrective exercises. Primary outcomes were the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Secondary outcomes included the anterior head translation, lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, trunk inclination, lateral deviation, trunk imbalance, surface rotation, pelvic inclination, leg and back pain scores, and H-reflex latency and amplitude. Patients were assessed at 3 intervals (pretreatment, 10-week posttreatment, and 2-year follow-up).


A general linear model with repeated measures indicated a significant group × time effect in favor of the experimental group on the measures of ODI (F = 89.7; P < .0005), anterior head translation (F = 23.6; P < .0005), H-reflex amplitude (F = 151.4; P < .0005), H-reflex latency (F = 99.2; P < .0005), back pain (F = 140.8; P < .0005), and leg pain (F = 72; P < .0005). After 10 weeks, the results revealed an insignificant difference between the groups for ODI (P = .08), back pain (P = .29), leg pain (P = .019), H-reflex amplitude (P = .09), and H-reflex latency (P = .098). At the 2-year follow-up, there were significant differences between the groups for all variables adopted for this study (P < .05).


The addition of forward head posture correction to a functional restoration program seemed to positively affect disability, 3-dimensional spinal posture parameters, back and leg pain, and S1 nerve root function of patients with chronic discogenic lumbosacral radiculopathy.

Copyright © 2015 National University of Health Sciences. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.