It has been estimated that one fourth to one half of all patients treated in physical therapy clinics suffer from low-back pain. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of spinal flexion (Group I) and extension (Group II) exercises on low-back pain severity and thoracolumbar spinal mobility in chronic mechanical low-back pain patients. Both groups had significantly less low-back pain after treatment (P less than .10). There was no significant difference, however, between the spinal flexion and extension exercises in reduction of low-back pain severity. The results indicated a significant difference between the groups in increasing the sagittal mobility (P less than .10). The results did not indicate any significant difference between and within groups in increasing the coronal and transverse mobility of the thoracolumbar spine. Either the spinal flexion or extension exercises could be used to reduce chronic mechanical low-back pain severity, but the flexion exercises had an advantage in increasing the sagittal mobility within a short period of time.

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