Our survey of the Sarah Key Method in its early days says it all!
A first principle of The Sarah Key Method in treating low back problems is daily lumbar traction or decompression to separate the lumbar segments.
All SKM patients are taught a simple ‘pressure change therapy’ regime using the famous BackBlock because they can effectively do this at home themselves. (You may be interested to see here, the great results of an ongoing Survey on the efficacy of the Sarah Key Method. In due course, you can take the survey yourself if you feel inclined.)
Of course, yes, you can do your BackBlock each day over a 7cm stack of books. But I assure you, you're much more likely to get it done and furthermore stick to it, with the proper, simple is genius, back tool that you literally take with you, under your arm, wherever you go.
The regime should be carried out in the evening before bed, when the spine is the most dehydrated and compressed and this then helps the discs imbibe more fluid overnight. By giving the discs better nourishment before bed you are improving their capacity to repair during sleep. The local stretching also makes all the other spinal soft tissues more extensible - the trans-vertebral ligaments, the spinal muscles, as well as the disc walls – and this too means that the discs will be better hydrated and plumped up again by morning.
A more compliant spine is an important factor in stopping further breakdown. The video ‘The Stages of Spinal Breakdown Following Disc Dehydration’ is contained in our 'Causes of Back Pain Video Package'. It is also very important to see my video ‘How to Do Your Own Spinal Decompression’ (in the 'Back Pain Treatment Video Package') because it makes all the difference getting these three simple steps of the PCT regime just right. Doing it by rote and counting the seconds until it’s over will not bring home the bacon.
You always follow the 60 seconds of spinal decompression with 'knees rocking' and 'reverse curls ups' exercises
The BackBlock is about the size of a shoebox. When sited under your bottom (not your lower back) the pelvis works like a fulcrum as the body drapes passively backwards. The weight of the legs creates gentle traction easing the lumbar segments apart. This unusual 'anti-sitting posture' stretches the front of the spine and the hips, where the tissues have adaptively shortened through hours spent sitting and crumpled forward. By easing the entire skeleton backwards, over several weeks, the Back Block also creates better alignment of the upper body over the spine's narrow base. In other words, it makes you stand straighter, with you head riding over your hip bones. This is critically important for your recovery.
The Ma Roller is like a convoluted rolling pin that you roll on. Beware!
The second simple-is-genius tool you can use to treat your own spine is the Ma Roller. This beautifully shaped wooden instrument (it looks like a convoluted rolling pin) specifically targets the facet joints. It has two rounded prominences either side of a central gully to pressure and knead the chain of facet joints running down either side of the spine, from the base of the skull to the pelvis.
The Ma Roller eases apart facets joints that have become rusty through excessive wear and tear. You place it under your lumbar area, lower your weight onto it and then roll minutely back and forth; the hot spots are apparent by their ‘sweet pain’ as you pass over. Just try it! It feels a delicious sort of agony-verging-on-ecstasy but you have to be careful not to overdo things. It should feel ‘agreeable’ but no more than that, as if the troublemaker craves the pressure. Doing it properly takes a bit of getting used to - and you have to relax as much as possible so the roller can pierce through the muscle bulk.
NOTE: You are advised not to use the Ma Roller without the express approval of your doctor or treating practitioner. You must not use the Ma Roller more than once a week.
(use the drop-down menu on the Sarah Key Online Store page to give the price in your own currency)
The Sarah Key Physiotherapy Centre,
Level 6, 44 Bridge Street
fax: 02 9221 8103
See more BackBlock information The Scientific Evidence Base for Spinal Decompression
And many sub-pages under the page Spinal Decompression Therapy