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on 17 October 2002
This book really combines two of the author's other bestselling books, "Treat Your Own Back" and "Treat Your Own Neck." The treatment provided to the reader is basically to watch your posture and do exercises where you bend your spine backwards (called extension exercises). This seems like good advice and will no doubt help out some people. For me though, bending backwards did not agree with my back.
One thing is glaringly absent from this book though--strengthening exercises for the back muscles. I did a little digging around and found that people with back pain actually have smaller than normal back muscles (Danneels,2000 and Parkkola,1993) when examined with CT scans and MRI's. People with back pain also have much weaker back muscles as well (Cassisi,1993 and Roy,1989 and Mayer,1989 and Mayer,1985 and Smidt,1983).
I am thinking that since it is so well documented in the medical literature that the majority or back pain sufferers have smaller and weaker back muscles, a book on back pain for the masses should definitely have included an exercise to strengthen the back muscles. I therefore recommend that buyers of this book use it in conjunction with a back strengthening exercise. For that, I recommend "The Multifidus Back Pain Solution" (also here at Amazon) to learn an easy back strengthening exercise you can do in your own home.
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on 13 March 2006
This book is excellent, however to gain any benefit you MUST.
1. Do the excersises exactly how they are described.
2. Do them as often as he tells you to - every 2-3 hours (find a quiet place at work!)
3. Persist! It will take time and will cause more pain initially - it gets a bit worse before it gets better, but your back isn't used to being put in these kinds of positions - at least not for many years.
4. Buy a lumber roll. Don't underestimate how good these are. Take it with you everywhere - even on public transport.
5. Continue to do them even when you feel better.
I bought this book when I was in trouble with my back - sciatica pain - and could hardly walk, couldn't get out of the car, and couldn't walk upstairs (coming downstairs was alot easier than going up!) and always had to sleep sitting up in bed (actually doing more harm than good, but I couldn't sleep otherwise). It was excruciating. I did the excersises and got better, then put the book away and carried on my life as normal (BIG MISTAKE) - only for the pain to return. After analysing my lifestyle I found out the bouts of sciatica pain often followed long periods of inactivity. For example, I would be fine during late autumn and winter, then as soon as the better weather started in the Spring I would become more active and the pain would come back big time. I also always suffered after sitting in an airplane seat for 4 hours - spoiling our holiday with back pain. Since using this book religiously, I have learned how to control my back instead of my back controlling me.
I have now been pain free for exactly 12 months - normally I have 3-4 bouts of sciatica every year, each used to last for 6-8 weeks.
Now that I'm pain free, I still do my excersises 3-4 times a week (slowly reduced from several times a day), and do extra excersises if I've been doing anything that involves my back - decorating, gardening, leaning over a car engine etc.
In the past few months, things have improved so much that I can now feel when my back is under strain, I immediately do the 'extension while standing' excercise and I can hear my back click back in place, this has never happened before and I am really reaping the benefits of continually obeying the excercises and 'rules' in this book.
I work in IT and spend about 10 hours sitting in front of a PC. A lumber roll has improved my posture massively and stopped my 'hunching' over the keyboard like 99.9% of my collegues - some of whom also suffer and I have recommended this book.
DO NOT GIVE UP. Make this book a part of your life - you've only got one back - look after it!
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on 3 March 2012
If you are reading this review then you almost certainly already know about the crippling pain that back problems can inflict and anything which might help is worth a shot. But there are so many treatments to consider; physiotherapy, osteopathy, yoga, drugs, even surgery - the list goes on.

Forget all that, says Robin McKenzie. Most of the established remedies don't work and can actually make things worse while hurting your pocket as well as your spine. All you need is to do some simple stretching exercises on a regular basis and your lumbar problems will vanish as if by magic.

It sounds too good to be true because we have been trained to believe that there is no quick fix and we have to reconcile ourselves to long courses of expensive treatment if we are to recover.

But McKenzie's claims seem to hold water and his exercises have become part of the mainstream of physiotherapy. He recommends one visit to a good physio to establish the root of the problem but, after that, all you need is his book and some common sense.

It certainly worked for me and I look back with regret at the money I have poured into various therapists' pockets, to no real effect, when I could have been curing myself, effectively, for the small cost of this book. Not only have agonising back pains and sciatica vanished from my life but, just as important, I no longer live in dread of the back 'going' and can get on with living in a far more confident way.

Of course, backs are ticklish things, and not everything works for everybody. But what McKenzie recommends is so obviously sensible and can have such astonishing and immediate results, then it really is worth a try if your back has become your worst enemy.
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on 10 August 2005
7 Steps takes you through a number of steps that will focus on your spine and body positions while sitting and standing. The exercises were not too hard to do but neither did they resolve my lower back pain. The chapter on sitting infront of the computer was very helpful and I caught my self doing things that are not good for my back. There are only a few exercises with most of them having you bend backwards.Overall a good book with information about the spine and body positioning. Also highly recommend "The Backsmart Fitness Plan" by Dr.Adam Weiss well written and detail stretches and core training movements that helped me alot.
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on 5 July 2005
I can only comment on the neck section of this book as I have not suffered from a bad back. I bought this book for my father who suffers with both and it lay unopened until I woke up one morning with terrible neck pain. I suffered in agony for about a week until I remembered this book, and then wished I'd remembered it much sooner. The first exercise started to work immediately and within a couple of days I was completely cured. The book is panned out with a lot of waffle, as are most, but I found just the one exercise invaluable and didn't really need to bother with the rest. It is the first neck exercise which is really easy to do and literally takes seconds.
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on 16 July 2011
This book got me off medication and back to work. I followed these very simple exercises and by the time I finally got a Physiotherapy appointment I no longer needed treatment.
Some of the exercises have video on Youtube which I found useful in helping to visualise how they should be done but the book is essential to anyone with neck or back problems.
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on 31 May 2012
I bought this book for my brother as he always has a bad back. I already own fix your own back and fix your own neck so i know how good they are. I cant recommend these books enough, dont bother with the doctors they havent a clue, i have had back trouble for years but since buying my own copy years ago i havent looked back.You have to read from the beginning and do the exercises exactly as described, you wont regret it
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on 24 June 2005
I picked up this book hoping to better understand the cause of my back pain and I am happy to report I did learn a lot of information on the function of the spine and proper siting at one's desk at work and home. The exercises were easy to follow and to perform. Only negative is it only had about a half of dozen exercises on the floor and all of them had me looking up at the ceiling all day and repeated over and over again.Helped a little after doing them for the past few months. Over all good reading for someone who wants to learn more about the back and the muscles and how they function. Also recomend the Backsmart Fitness Plan By Dr.Adam Weiss- many soild core and abdominal exercises and stretches for the whole body. Recommend both books.
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on 22 June 2013
I wish I'd found this years ago. I've only had it a week and already it's making a difference. I've suffered from several prolapsed discs for years now. They were caused by a number of injuries and although McKenzie concentrates more on damage done by poor posture, his exercises are helping me.
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on 15 October 2012
The best part of the book is that the exercises are simple and effective. I have been to see an osteopath many times in my life and not one of them ever suggested backwards extension exercises to help posture and to help relieve back pain (maybe to keep customers coming back), so this seems to be McKenzie's biggest contribution/discovery.

The book itself is printed on cheap paper and the photo illustrations look dated and of minimal quality, but good enough to illustrate the (simple) points being made.

The recommendations for posture are good. Many of us allow poor posture to lead to a flattening of the lower back, a reduction in the natural shock absorbing, strong arch, which McKenzie refers to as lordosis. The correct medical term for the flat lower back nowadays is 'hypolordosis', with hyperlordosis being excessive curvature. As McKenzie intimates most back problems are probably due to a lack of curvature, and often caused by poor posture after exercise/physical activity. This all makes perfect sense, and is confirmed by trying the exercises for two weeks and the one paper I managed to find on hypolordosis that looked at the effectiveness of simple exercises to increase the flexibility of the lumbar region and correcting both hypo and hyperlordosis. The exercises used in the study were similar to those recommended by McKenzie.

My own feeling is the book is content light for the price, and that there are other effective exercises and techniques for dealing with acute pain, which don't get much of a mention, or don't get mentioned at all. For example, when talking about sitting, why not go further and recommend abandoning the chair/sofa at home, and use the floor, sitting cross legged, or squatting to help with back and hip flexibility. In terms of release of tight tissue and muscle, what about use of a foam roller, or ball to help, or deep tissue massage?

It strikes me, recently having discovered that I cannot 'deep squat' very easily (or safely), because of lack of hip and hamstring flexibility causing what is sometimes called 'butt wink' (a flattening of the spine, and then reverse curvature as I go deeper into a squat), that flexibility of other parts of the body have an impact on the way we sit, move, lift, walk, run, that deserve attention, with hip flexibility and thoracic (upper back) extension being two areas that could compliment the simple and limited number of exercises that McKenzie recommends.

Exercises to develop and maintain core strength (including hip strength, which is also as important) also get ignored, as these again would compliment the McKenzie exercises. Hopefully these can be addressed in later versions of the book.
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