The effect on spine height changes from different combinations of time and angle of static prone hyperextension, and one intervention of dynamic hyperextension was explored.
To explore whether controlled hyperextension would cause an height increase with greater duration than previously shown, and to find an optimal combination of hyperextension angle and duration of the intervention.
Summary of Background Data
Hyperextension is a commonly used treatment of low back pain. Previous studies have shown a positive effect of passive and dynamic hyperextension as measured as spine height changes using the stadiometer. Overhead work, i.e., with the spine in an increased lordosis was shown to relieve the load on the disc because it did not cause spinal height loss, which was attributed to the hyperextended posture. The height recovery that was found in previous studies was significant but temporary.
Ten subjects were exposed to hyperextension in the prone position for different time periods and with different amounts of hyperextension. The effect was measured using the stadiometer for measurement of spine height changes.
The study showed that time was the most important variable, and also that for a given time, there was an increased recovery with increased angle.
The results indicate that hyperextension can be a beneficial maneuver to unload temporarily the spine after loading and to rehydrate the discs, providing enough time is given for the procedure. The optimal time and angle combination was 20° for 20 minutes because this intervention resulted in the largest recovery that lasted for a relatively long period of time.