Angela, I like the way you phrase your question, particularly the fact that you used “lower back pain.”
The American College of Sports Medicine uses the same terminology–“Lower Back Pain Syndrome” in their Third Edition of “Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Disease and Disabilities to describe this clinical condition.
The guidelines for exercise testing and prescription include:
1. Isometric trunk testing to measure isometric strength in multiple positions to find true peak torke
2. Flexibility utilizing straight leg stretch inclinometry up to an angle that elicits pain or radiating symptoms.
As far as exercise programming is concerned the guidelines include:
Resistance: abdominal strengthening, back extensions
Goals: Increase abdominal strength; increase lumbar extensor strength
Intensity/Frequency/Duration: Under the age of 50: 10-15 reps/day; Over age of 50: 8-12 reps two or more times a day per week.
Time to Goal: 2-4 weeks
Flexibility: Any standard flexibility that does not increase LBP
Goals: Increase trunk and hip flexor and extensor ROM
Intensity/Frequency/Duration: 2 min/muscle group; hold position for three reps, 10s/stretch
Functional: 5 min walk – 1 min chair sit to stand
Goal: Increase/maintain ADLs
Intensity/Frequency/Duration: Brisk walk, 3-5 days/week; chair sit and stand, 2-3 days/week
Time to Goal: 2-4 weeks.