Examples of flexion exercises include knee-to-chest exercises (Fig. 14-1), abdominal crunches, and hip flexor stretches. Flexion exercises are commonly prescribed for facet joint pain, lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis. Flexion exercises increase intradiscal pressure and are contraindicated in the presence of an acute disc herniation. Flexion exercises are also contraindicated in thoracic and lumbar compression fractures and osteoporotic patients.
Flexion exercises have the following goals:
• Open intervertebral foramina and enlarge the spinal canal
• Stretch back extensors
• Strengthen abdominal and gluteal muscles
• Mobilize the lumbosacral junction
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