Treat Your Own Back Info

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Helping thousands of back pain sufferers worldwide, this book
offers do-it-yourself relief of lower back pain through postural
changes, ergonomics and simple exercises. It provides a clear
understanding of the causes and treatments of persistent back
pain.
The completely revised and formatted ninth edition of the
landmark patient book contains easy-to-read, updated content, new photos
and numerous pages of education and clinically-proven exercises
utilizing the renowned McKenzie Method®.
Written by Robin
McKenzie. Illustrated. Softcover; 112 pages.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.38

1803 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for Treat Your Own Back:

5

February 11, 2018

and the treatment I paid big bucks for is pretty much the same treatment that is laid out in ...
I had two months of physical therapy for herniated and bulging discs in my lumbar spine, and the treatment I paid big bucks for is pretty much the same treatment that is laid out in this $10 book. (A PT friend of mine recommended this book and confirmed for me that the premise of her schooling on lower-back pain was the exercises in this book!) If you haven't gotten imaging done or haven't made the leap to get therapy yet, give this book a try. If nothing else, it will give you and indication of where your physical therapist will start.
5

May 27, 2018

Great book, but use common sense
This is a great book and the McKenzie method is a godsend. But please use common sense. Know your body. There are exercises in this book that require one to lay on their stomach and raise their upper body and head back. I can't do that because of neck issues. Common sense. Some people have tried exercises in this book and gotten worse. This happens because they do not fully understand the method. When you are in pain, locate that pain first. Find a safe position that is most comfortable to you, second. Third, then do the stretch that goes in the opposite direction. i.e., if your pain is on your right, shift to your left. Stop the stretch when you feel more pain. Then do it again. Stop when you get to the point of pain. Etc. Bottom line is, you should see a therapist that specializes in the McKenzie method so that they can explain the exercises to you, monitor you as you do/learn them and set some precautions for you. Use this book as a guide after your physical therapy. This method has done wonders for me through the years and I cannot tell you enough how well it works. Long, short, is that any time I went to a McKenzie PT, I felt instant relief the very first session. Not 100% per se, but a clear improvement. Please, just use common, sense, know your body (pain trigger movements and areas), and seek a proper PT. This is a great book. Use it wisely! (This review is not meant as medical advice).
5

October 4, 2017

Back Magic
My long standing sciatic problem flared up earlier this year. Had trouble walking and so much pain I could barely sleep. Went to physical therapy, which didn't help much. However, saw this book on the therapist's desk and asked about it. Bought it and it's working as advertised. My pain is greatly diminished and I walk normally. If your L5/S1 and/or L4/L5 discs are bulging, you can actually reverse it and suck the discs back into place. The pain moves back up your legs, from feet to calves to thighs to buttocks and towards your spine. You can actually relieve the pressure on the nerve, which stops sending pain down your body. I have had pain off and on for 50 years, and nothing worked like this.

Now I do a brief set of exercises each morning and, since I sit at work most of the day, get up every hour for a brief set of back bends and squats. I also use lumbar pillows at home, work, and while driving.

If you have pressed material entirely out of the discs, this isn't for you. If the discs in your lower back are bulging, however, this can work like magic.
5

August 20, 2018

Ahhmazing! Game changer & Life Saver
I have had lower back issues on and off for years. In 2012, had an MRI which confirmed herniated discs in the lower lumbar (L5-S1). This book was recommended to me once when my back was out so I promptly ordered it and put it on a shelf. One time while I was laying in bed with my back out (in a terrible position, by the way), I figured what did I have to lose. I was bedridden for the day so I should read the book. The book is well written, cuts to the chase, explains the 'why' of it but most importantly helps! I sort of rolled off the bed to the floor and started doing the recommended exercises. I did them throughout the afternoon and saw immediate improvement. Like many of us, I soon forget about the stretches when my back feels better so eventually my back would start acting up and I would go to the Chiro for an adjustment. Which by the way, was pretty successful. Until this last time. A long flight and slinging luggage onto conveyor belts did it for me. When I got home, I was "too busy" to see the Chiro so I put it off. By the time I went, I think my back was in full spasm mode and it just didn't work. It progressively got worse without me taking it as seriously as I should have and then I finally tried just about everything I could think of (expect re-reading this book). I was practically immobile at time. Especially going from sitting to standing or getting out of the car. The only relief I had was laying down on my back. At times, I was in tears and watching days go by where I couldn't do normal things or participate in life, especially with my kids. My husband had to pick up all the slack. I just turned 40. If I'm like this now, what does the future hold?! From there I saw a sports muscle/chiropractor, a deep tissue body mechanics PT and did 2 sessions of accupuncture and cupping. I had a couple hours of relief after seeing each of these people, partially due to the fact that I was laying on my back during treatment. But none of them provided any real relief. All 3 agreed I needed an MRI. I finally broke down and went to an orthopedist who did and xray and confirmed the compression and got an MRI ordered. A couple days ago, I had my worst day and decided to re-read this book. I have committed to doing exactly as it says. I set a timer on my phone for every two hours (and will do it more if I'm in pain). It's only day 2 and I have significantly less pain than two days ago. I ordered lumbar support for the car/home/work so I'm not undoing the benefit of the stretches. I'm going to keep it up because I can't live like this and even in just two days, plus previous experience, I have a sliver of hope that I can get back to normal. Today I went to work (office) and had the least amount of pain I could remember in a long time. I'm so encouraged! I strongly recommend this book. And I also recommend that you do it diligently right away. Don't wait until you are completely tweaked!
5

September 20, 2017

A must buy for lower back pain sufferers and those suffering from sciatica
Suffering from sciatica and the doctor recommended PT. After a month of pain and no relief, the PT showed me some exercises and recommended a lumbar roll when sitting. Bought the McKenzie roll and treat your own back came up as a frequently purchased item. The book is a life saver. If you are suffering from lower back pain then this is the book for you.
I'm going to start giving them out as gifts for the holidays. Lower back pain is very common and with a little book knowledge and some exercises/ posture corrections, it can be eliminated from your life. It worked for thousands who've gotten this book or used its teachings (PT professionals) and it worked for me. My sciatica was gone in two weeks after following the books teachings. I also know how to avoid and identify signs that I might be putting my back into a situation that could lead back to sciatica. This alone is worth buying and reading.
5

May 17, 2018

An approach that works better than traditional PT without taking over your life
I followed the advice in the McKenzie book and it worked for me. Most importantly, it doesn't require an excessive amount of my time to continue following the advice in the book to prevent recurrence of lower back pain. McKenzie explains that his advice addresses the problem mechanically, rather than by strengthening muscles. That limits the benefits, of course, and it would be nice to strengthen muscles too, but that explains why following McKenzie's advice is not terribly time consuming.

Before I bought the book, I had been through a couple of courses of physical therapy over the past few years in order to treat and prevent severe lower back pain. Each time, I would begin PT highly motivated to do all of the recommended exercises. After several weeks of twice weekly PT treatments, I would complete the program in a still highly motivated state so I would continue doing all of the recommended exercises, described in great detail in printed handouts, so that the problem does not recur. But it doesn't take long after that for reality to set in.

The reality is that a course of PT involves an enormous amount of detail and diversity in prescribed exercises. And it is so enormously boring. Not hard, just boring. I find that I simply cannot maintain the prescribed course of exercises, literally requiring more than an hour of my time cumulatively every day. I don't have the time, and even if I did the notion that life is short and this is not how I want to spend it sets in. The phrase, "To a man with a hammer every problem is a nail" comes to mind. Those exercises, and all of their variations, are a physical therapist's hammers and my pain is his nail. What they do is all well and good, and I'm grateful for it, but I find every time that it's just not feasible to change my lifestyle to one so devoted to all those exercises and their repetitions.

That's just me. I see in other reviews that many who suffer from back pain will accept such discipline, probably because they suffer from problems more severe than mine. But if you do identify with my sentiments when it comes to PT for back pain then you may appreciate the feasibility of the McKenzie approach as much as its initial effectiveness. It doesn't require that much of your time. You are so much more likely to stick with the program than with the traditional physical therapist's approach.
5

March 23, 2018

... just got this book yesterday and the results are amazing. I have an L5 - S1 disc impingement ...
I may not be the norm here but I just got this book yesterday and the results are amazing. I have an L5 - S1 disc impingement causing major Piriformis and back issues when I tweak it carrying heavy items or just turning the wrong way sometimes. In the past it has been so bad that I was using a Gatorade bottle to go to the bathroom at night because the anxiety and fear of pain trying to get up and walk to the bathroom was too much to bear. Recently I tweaked it again but caught it in time with ice and rest before it got too bad, however, it was really bothering me for the next couple of weeks. I tried the Mckenzie method last night while watching TV, taking it slow and easy. I didn't expect to get any results but IMMEDIATELY I felt relief after I finished the exercises. This was equivalent to 2 months of deep tissue massage and a multiple Chiropracter visits the last time this happened. Same results! I slept later and woke to find I had literally 50% less pain and more mobility. I really have no words. Get this book!!!
5

November 3, 2015

Worth the purchase.
I bought this book in conjunction with going to a certified McKenzie Institute Clinic, and I found this clinic by accident. I learned later that they are all over the world. If there isn't one in your area, there are also individual clinicians specializing in the McKenzie method with a certificate, or diploma after extensive hours of theory and residency, and one of them might be near you. The McKenzie Institute is searchable on the internet and the website can help you find someone. If you have a benefit for physical therapy, you should go. It is unlike any physical therapy I have done in the last 5 years. I used the book today as a reference and it worked again. If there is no clinic or clinician near you, then follow the book to the letter. The book explains not to jump around within the pages.

My initial time with the physical therapist consisted of evaluation and going through the first three steps in the book. My foot numbness went away on the first visit. I progressed with the therapist in the same way the book describes. At home, the book will explain that you need to do the exercises every two hours, completing them 6-8 times a day at the beginning. My therapist wrote me up the same instructions. When the therapist said that I should make a few more appointments, that if it wasn't helping, the program was not right for me. The book explains this too and does have assessment questions for the reader. I'm glad it was right for me, and I use the book as a reference.

As far as strengthening exercises, which some people have mentioned are key in recovery, I agree as an RN that strengthening is very important. The book doesn't cover that topic because it is about this specific method of relief and healing. My McKenzie therapist told me that the point of this book not having conventional therapy, is that there are already good books out there with pages of strengthening techniques and exercises.
5

Jun 03, 2019

I threw my back out and had a coworker (Thanks Libby) and my new PT recommend this same book on the same day. I read it, and 2 days later, I am on the right path! Assuming that trend continues, this book is magic!

It basically says that many of us who work sitting down all day have bad posture and lose our lordosis (the curvature of the lower back). If this happens it puts strain on your disks while can easily lead to a strain and thus throwing out your back. The fix is simple - to do stretches I threw my back out and had a coworker (Thanks Libby) and my new PT recommend this same book on the same day. I read it, and 2 days later, I am on the right path! Assuming that trend continues, this book is magic!

It basically says that many of us who work sitting down all day have bad posture and lose our lordosis (the curvature of the lower back). If this happens it puts strain on your disks while can easily lead to a strain and thus throwing out your back. The fix is simple - to do stretches that push the back to have lordosis again.

So far so good, but have a ways to go! ...more
5

Aug 25, 2010

I suffered a herniated disk playing basketball and consequently experienced debilitating lower back pain. I was confined to bed for months, had sciatica, and gradually lost strength and feeling in my left leg. The pain was continual and it was hard to think clearly. I tried many things to heal my back but this is the one that worked (in conjunction with physical therapy). The thesis of this book is that much lower back pain is caused by a loss of lordosis (the curve in your lower back), and the I suffered a herniated disk playing basketball and consequently experienced debilitating lower back pain. I was confined to bed for months, had sciatica, and gradually lost strength and feeling in my left leg. The pain was continual and it was hard to think clearly. I tried many things to heal my back but this is the one that worked (in conjunction with physical therapy). The thesis of this book is that much lower back pain is caused by a loss of lordosis (the curve in your lower back), and the solution is to restore lower back strength and flexibility through a combination of basic exercises and stretches. I distilled this book down to two exercises (situps and reverse situps) and three stretches (knees to chest, yoga cobra, and hamstring stretch) that I continue to practice whenever my lower back pain returns. It works. ...more
4

Apr 09, 2012

I have a herniated disc in the lower part of my spine and I recently suffered from a bout of lower back pain followed by intense sciatica running down my left leg. After about seven weeks of rest, medications and most of all, physical therapy, I am able to resume normal activity. And I have been pain free for a few weeks now. I received this book as a present from my physical therapists as I graduated from working with them to doing the exercises on my own.

This book has all the pictures and I have a herniated disc in the lower part of my spine and I recently suffered from a bout of lower back pain followed by intense sciatica running down my left leg. After about seven weeks of rest, medications and most of all, physical therapy, I am able to resume normal activity. And I have been pain free for a few weeks now. I received this book as a present from my physical therapists as I graduated from working with them to doing the exercises on my own.

This book has all the pictures and guidance I need (cross my fingers) to continue doing the stretches and exercises I need to do to stay pain free. A microdiscectomy may still be in my future, but I'm tying to hold off as long as I can.

This is a quick read - I read it in bits over the course of three days and then straight through again in about two hours. I refer to the different exercises throughout the day, especially right now that I'm traveling and I'm concerned about a relapse. I found the book to be simply laid out and concise, but it still pretty much covers all my questions and concerns. I really enjoyed reading this book and I know that I'll be keeping it handy for awhile. ...more
4

Apr 03, 2008

It really works. The exercises and approach here are very simple, logical and all about common sense practices that gradually get you back to full movement and strength- without pain. I don't want this review to sound like a testimonial, but the information was very useful, and I enjoyed the Australian word usage of Dr. McKenzie.

This was referred to me by a physical therapist who is trained in the method, and I gained a lot more talking to him than just reading the book- and like I said, after It really works. The exercises and approach here are very simple, logical and all about common sense practices that gradually get you back to full movement and strength- without pain. I don't want this review to sound like a testimonial, but the information was very useful, and I enjoyed the Australian word usage of Dr. McKenzie.

This was referred to me by a physical therapist who is trained in the method, and I gained a lot more talking to him than just reading the book- and like I said, after over 6 months of intense sciatic pain I'm pain-free (most days) and getting stronger. ...more
4

June 2, 2019

Great start but wait to
The Mckenzie method is approved for many back conditions but not all! So be very careful when applying this without physical therapy supervision, you can hurt and damage your spine that might require surgical intervention. Trust me, I've been there. I had very good results under physical therpay monitoring for conditions involving sciatica for years. But when I started to have unusual symtoms, I used this book, step-by-step to treat my radicular pain that changed from the back thighs to the front. I did exactly as written in the book for acute back pain. The first day,I layed prone for the stated times and then went to the next combination the following day, which is prone to sphinx for the stated times. Toward the end of the sphinx position, I felt my vertibra move and push in where it stuck, and locked in place. This is the most important flaw in the book! Never hold these positions for 3 minutes! In fact, 30-60 seconds is sufficient. When I told various PTs and Chiros what I did, they didn't believe me the book would state those hold times. I showed them pages 50-51. The professionals knew better than to advise those hold times.
4

August 25, 2018

Pretty basic (3.5*s)
The basic idea of this very brief book is that most people will experience some sort of back issue and most of the time rest and a series of a few exercises will restore one to health. The main weakness of the book is that the author does not discuss the large range of back maladies and the suitability of his exercises to help in their relief. It is indeed possible that his exercises could be harmful, not helpful.

There are about eight exercises described in the book. All of them are easy to understand and pretty much standard in a back care regimen. The book, being relatively inexpensive, may be worth it for the curious, but don’t be surprised if you’ve seen this before. The biggest issue for back sufferers is determining if “heal one’s self” is appropriate, or should a professional be consulted. He does debunk spinal manipulation and electrical stimulation as solutions for back problems. In other words, use a real doctor.
1

March 10, 2018

who went to school for six years and realized I had made a terrible mistake by reading this book
Stay away from this book and go to a properly trained physical therapist. Stay away from therapists who've taken a two week course to become Mckenzie certified. McKenzie tells you to do exercises that trained therapist would never have you do. I read this book and went to see a physical therapist also McKenzie certified. Because I followed this book and went to see this therapist, and b/c of the exercises, I know have permanent numbness in my leg in and foot. I finally went to see a proper physical therapist, who went to school for six years and realized I had made a terrible mistake by reading this book.
1

February 12, 2018

Whatever you do,
Whatever you do , If it HURTS dont keep doing it That harder higher stuff helped my disc bulge the other way right into sciatica No more self help for me
2

February 24, 2017

Caution, don't try everything described in book
I found some of the recommended stretches caused problems for me. I am old and inflexible and discovered some of his ideas just don't work for me.
4

May 27, 2019

Doctor recommended after I herniated a disc in my lumbar spine
You can't argue with the concept of treating yourself at home versus being reliant on doctors. My very-not-Western-like-doctor who doesn't try to make money off me at every turn recommended this book after I herniated a disc in my lumbar spine. It's more than worth the price, and it's an easy read. Went through the book in about an hour but continued to refer back to it for guidance on proper form for the stretches and things. Still needed physical therapy to deal with my injury initially, but I learned a lot of the basics (what to do, what not to do) for a healthy back that I never picked up elsewhere in life. It's the price of two Starbucks orders; just buy it if your'e on the fence! What do you have to lose if you're looking at this kind of stuff? You might actually feel better!
5

Jun 25, 2015

My physical therapist started me on these exercises and recommended the book as a support when I put my back out twice in the space of 3 months. 30 years ago, I'd rejected the option of spinal fusion in the lumbar area and opted for alternatives. I haven't had much trouble until a year ago. After 6 months of referring to this clearly written book to fine tune my use of the exercises, I'm stronger than ever and looking forward to another 30 trouble-free years.
5

Aug 14, 2010

For any that have chronic back pain or just a sore back I highly recommend this book!! Easy to read with simple but frequent excercises which really work. I have only been doing these excercises for 3 days and my back which over the last 12 months has been treated by both physiotherapists and chiropracters which has given some relief but never felt as good as it does now.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough to those that suffer from any of the above.
1

April 19, 2018

Go to a doctor instead
Since ordering this book, I have had 2 back surgeries including a spinal fusion. It won’t help you if you really have a problem.
1

February 23, 2018

Rediculous no exercises to speak of I thought this was ...
Rediculous no exercises to speak of I thought this was going to offer in depth exercises this book is online for free the little it offers. It's a glorified pamphlet
2

September 9, 2018

Not for me.
Maybe its just me but the exercises in this book made my back pain far worse. Proceed with caution.
3

April 14, 2018

Provided some good insight, but I expected more information
The book was much was shorter than expected. Provided some good insight, but I expected more information for the price
3

October 17, 2017

Book didn't help me.
Didn't get much out of this book. Seems like a lot of the items for helping the back like pads and back rests, etc, are available from his company. He does say that proceeds from the sales go toward research. The book didn't help me. I'm one of those folks that need surgery.

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