103 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2011
I must disagree with another review that indicated the exercises in Foundation are aimed at people who are athletes or are already in good physical condition. I have never been an athlete, nor am I young. My back pain was so severe a few months ago that I had difficulty doing everyday things. I started with the beginning set of exercises and have, within a few weeks, moved into the moderate set. My back pain is significantly reduced. It's been weeks since I took even ibuprofen for pain. I had tried other things to alleviate back pain over the past 15 years (including physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture) but this book has worked better for me than anything else.
60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2011
Up until Memorial Day this year, I was playing soccer and refereeing at age 60. But then I torqued my back doing yardwork. I didn't have sciatica, but I could no longer run, bend over, get out of bed, and I could barely use the toilet in the morning. I tried celebrex, mobic, PT, chiro, yoga, massage, and personal training to change how I walked/ran. My pain level remained at around a 7. I finally got an MRI, which indicated advanced disk degeneration and a small disk bulge. Then I read that San Jose Earthquakes player Ramiro Corrales had spinal cortisone shots and followed the Foundation exercises throughout the season.
So 6 weeks ago, I started the exercises. My back was so weak, and I had to go so slowly, that one set of the basic 5 exercises took me 45 minutes. I could only hold the poses for a few seconds each. I had some immediate pain relief that first day, so I kept at it, building up to 20" poses. Each day my back improved. After 2 weeks, I realized I was supposed to do 3 sets of the basic exercises, so I increased my workout. Then I moved to the intermediate exercises, and now I am doing the advanced workout. My back is now strong enough, that if I trip, or if someone bumps into me or vice versa, I no longer get stabbing pain running up my spine. My pain dropped to a 3-4. I am pretty sure that the Foundation exercises opened my spinal joints and allowed blood into the area to help reduce the inflammation. I have also found that I need to do them almost every day.
Do you need to be an athlete to do these exercises? No, but you need to develop an athlete's resolve to keep at them. Remember, I was so weak I could barely do them in the beginning, so I had fallen out of an athletic state and had even become pre-diabetic.
Am I cured? No. Can I go back to soccer yet? No. Yesterday I got spinal cortisone shots in the hopes that they will eliminate the remaining inflammation in my facet joints. I also read Esther Gokhale's book and am working on my posture so that I do not sit or stand in hunched or slouched positions, and I try to walk with an "inner corset".
For the first time in 6 months, I am hopeful that I may be able to run again. I don't think the shots alone will do the trick. I think these Foundation exercises will be crucial to my continuing recovery. Wish me luck! And good luck to you in finding a solution for your pain as well!
- - - - - UPDATE AUG-5-2012. - - - - -
I made about a 90% recovery, but it wasn't directly from either book. The cortisone shots reduced my pain to a level of 1-2, which enabled me to start working with a personal trainer. I worked out with an exceptionally knowledgable trainer at the Equinox gym in Palo Alto. Over 3.5 months, we developed my core and gluteal muscles. I truly developed the inner corset that Gokhale talks about, but it was through vigorous weight training. I lost 5 lbs of fat and gained 5 lbs of muscle, and my body fat went from 21% to 16%.
My posture is now erect, and I also focus on Using my glutes (the largest muscle in the body) to walk and lift, instead of my back. This plus the tight abdomen reduced my back pain to almost zero, and the trainer also showed me how to break down tightness in the hip flexors, psoas, piriformis, glute and leg muscles. It turns out that much of my low back pain nowadays comes from tightness of the first two muscles, which I can break down by rolling on a softball and using the body back buddy.
So while this book got me on the road to recovery, the real solution was to work with an expert to strengthen my whole body and change some body mechanics. Working with my trainer was like physical therapy on steroids. One downside of weight training though, is that it can never stop. I work out on my own now, but If I go 4 days without weight training, my core goes flaccid and my back pain returns. So My back is a chronic problem and will always be a work in progress. But at least I returned to playing and refereeing in July. And then I tore my meniscus, of course.
79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2011
Several months ago I had a major back spasm that left me crippled for a week. Unfortunately after my injury the pain never subsided, and I started to lose hope about living pain free again. I tried everything possible to get rid of the back pain, including acupuncture, physical therapy, yoga, etc.. I heard about this book and decided to give it a shot.
It literally changed my life. The stretches and lessons in this book target the regions of the back that are most troublesome for those with back pain. The exercises are clearly explained, and include very high quality pictures and easy to understand instructions. Following the guidance of this book I have been pain free for several weeks now. I would highly recommend anyone living with back pain to get this book, it may increase the quality of your life as well.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
I have been a chiropractor for 14 years and this book has been the most exciting thing I have read during that time. It is easy to read and it makes so much sense and answers so many nagging questions I have had over the years about client outcomes. While I was reading it, I could picture different clients in my mind as the authors discussed mechanics - the light was going on in rapid succession. So many questions about why people weren't stabilizing were answered in a way that I have never seen or been taught before. I also love that the program they have developed is low tech and needs nothing other than a patch of floor to do the workouts. I don't have back pain but I am miserably out of shape - this book came to me (one of my patient's brought it in and I asked about it) at the perfect time to help me get back in shape in the right way. I am only a couple weeks into it, but I do feel different and better and I know it will be a major plus to my practice. As a thank you to the brilliant and generous authors, I will help you sell a lot of this magnum opus! Buy the book, best money ever spent. Thank you authors, what a gift to humanity!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
I really appreciated the simple, straight forward style of the book. It doesn't waste the readers time with chapters and chapters of self-promotion and the kinds of repetitive information and cliches often found in these types of books. The exercise section is well written with useful photographs/diagrams of muscle groups. There is a chapter that focuses on anatomy and mechanics that may be a bit much for the lay reader, but I appreciated it because it helped me visualize which muscles I should be targeting as I moved through the exercises.
But what you really want to know is, does it work? The answer, happily, is yes. I am a late 30's female who struggled with back pain for several years. Despite an active lifstyle, years of working in sales (ie: sitting at a desk or in a car for 8-10 hours per day) led to very inflexible hamstrings and hips. I tried yoga, "Miracle Balls", pilates, rolfing, massage, etc., to alleviate the pain in my lower back. While I found some temporary relief with all of these practices, the pain always returned. I found that my once active lifestyle became more and more sedentary as I tried to avoid activities that would aggravate the pain in my back.
After just the first session I felt like I stood taller and straighter when I was done. After four sessions, I felt some of the pressure on my lower back release. Whether or not it lasts remains to be seen... but I already know I will be incorporating these exercises into my morning routine.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Let me start by saying that the exercises do work. They will not do miracles as promised, but will relieve mild back pain, tightness and, most importantly, will strengthen the posterior muscles which may be neglected by other programs. On the other hand, all exercises are yoga poses modified to suit the author's goal. You may get more from a good yoga book than from this one. Then, again, the exercises do work. So I recommend the book on this basis.
Other than the above, I have three main complains about this book. The first two are regarding the exercises. The other is about the writing.
1. The exercises are divided into 3 chapters -- from basic to advanced. Each chapter adds a few additional exercises over the previous one. By the end, you are doing 10 exercises. There is a "bonus chapter" with 2 additional exercises. This is it. A total of 12 different exercises. This is really limited. It is well known that your body will stop recovering/improving after doing the same exercises for 2-3 months. Additional exercises would have really helped. 12 is on the short side to say the least.
2. The authors do not explain which muscles you are working in each exercise. They hint at some but it's unclear which ones or why. I'd like to know so that I could add variations to the program from other yoga poses I know.
3. Most of the book is worthless text. The exercises take less than 1/3 of the book. The text includes a list of typical back injuries without any explanation of how the exercises in the book will help. It also includes a misleading discussion about our sedentary life. The claim, which we have heard a million times, is that we sit too much and this is hurting our backs; that our ancestors were always on the move, working the fields and that our bodies are not design to be sedentary. The truth is that earlier generations had even more back problems than us. People that work in factories or farms end up with much worse problems than those that sit all day. When I was a kid most elders had hunched backs and terrible pains. That's no longer true. Part of this is thanks to medicine and drugs but most of it is thanks to less strenuous postures and a more balanced life (including sitting). Skip the reading. It has nothing to offer and is unrelated to the exercises. It even includes testimonials. When I buy a book I am not looking for an infomercial.
As a final note: The pictures of the exercises are high quality and the book is well edited.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2014
This book is a godsend. Thank you Dr. Goodman and Mr. Parker for your excellent work. I went through the low rating comments and found mostly superficial objections from "it made things worse", "it requires a coach to learn it", "Lance Armstrong and his trainer are dubious references", "some people have serious problems that this will not fix", "it just repeats core training stuff from other books", "it has too many quotes of people it helped", "it used double spaced print" to complaints about Chiropractors not being doctors, and "they are updating the program so it must have been wrong" and the video didn't work on Kindle. Sometimes bad reviews contain very valuable insights of a book's true worth but these were largely non substantive comments attacking the book and the authors for no good reason.
First of all, obviously, no program will solve everyone's problem, some are too far gone. The authors constantly warn of the need for special medical attention if any movement is too hard or hurtful. Secondly, I would like to see the book that covers this approach that they "are just repeating", I believe that it is a false charge with no real proof except some books using similar references to "core" regardless of them being the same. . Thirdly, I agree with that it is new ground. I do believe that the true core is the lower back muscles, not the abdomen and it has done wonders for me, much more than abdominal training. They are right that it is the foundation that all else should build on, not be consider equally with the abdomen, I think that that is secondary.
After starting their program, I feel stronger, my posture is better, my pain is almost completely gone and I have confidence that my youthful strength will return after 25 years behind a desk. Instead of telling my children to stand straight and not slouch I will just train them in this and let it improve their posture like mine. I think that those with lower back pain (excluding pro athletes) should not do their other exercises until the back is fully restored because it is the foundation of true body strength and health.
Fourthly, shame on those people attacking Chiropractors as not legitimate, there are good ones (that have helped my family immensely) and bad ones just like MDs (many of whom put people on through treatments that does nothing to help their problem, like with my family). Eric Goodman is in the excellent category and a great doctor that we are indebted to for his work and I am glad to see him recognized for it. I look forward to anything else he or Mr Parker has to offer including improvements on this program or any other health improvement. Keep up the great work!
Personally, I am not in good shape so I just did the first exercise and a simple up and down squat for three weeks. I could see the improvement immediately. I felt muscles that I have not felt for years. I now am just doing all 5 exercises and will do it for two months at which time I will do it three time in a row as they recommend. So I am turning their six week program into a 9 month one. I will progress slowly but surely and know that I will be prepared for more advanced training on the rest of my body. So unless, you have very special problems, you owe it to yourself to try this program, it is highly likely that you will greatly benefit from it. .
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2011
A very thorough and convincing analysis of why we have back pain, and the obvious steps to take to eliminate the pain. I've started the program set out in the book, and it does work.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2014
I've had lower back pain for the last ten years, since I was 23 or so and left the student life to join the corporate world... it seems like I was always either dealing with a pulled back or recovering from a pulled back. Sometimes it was manageable, and sometimes I could barely get up in the morning. I'm not an old guy, and with two young kids this was becoming a serious impediment to me just being able to live and enjoy my life. Every time I'd start a fitness routine, it'd end in me injuring my back several weeks later.
I tried everything, and spent thousands of dollars. I saw my doctor, received massage therapy for years, chiropractor, acupuncture, and even did yoga and pilates. They all seemed to offer some degree of pain relief and maybe I'd go a couple months without pulling my back. But it'd always get injured again.
Recently, after yet another pulled back, out of desperation I went searching for a book and came across this one.
I waited 6 months before writing this review, so I could give a good testimonial. And what a great 6 months it has been! I started doing the exercises in this book while in the midst of back pain, and it slowly went away, so far never to return.
All the other "treatments" I received addressed a variety of things... posture, flexibility, stiffness, alignment, whatever. But the root cause remained: my back muscles, (or posterior chain as the book refers to it as) were simply weak. No amount of other treatments would help, as my weak back was just so easy to injure.
It took about three weeks of following the program in the book before I started noticing improvement. After 6 weeks, the improvement was very substantial. Now, it's an amazing and enjoyable improvement... I don't even think about my posture any more, as with a strong posterior chain, a good posture is just what comes naturally. I still do the exercises every 2 to 3 days... they're very easy to stick to. I recently went about 8 days without doing them (while on vacation) and it was no problem.
Whenever anyone tells me that they're suffering from lower back pain like I had, I tell them about this book. It's simple, and it worked. 5 stars is not enough.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2011
After 5 years of constantly recurring back pain, chiropractors, podiatrists and general practioniers I was desperate for relief. My lower back would begin to act up whenver I started a regular exercise program sidelining me for weeks and costing me hundreds of dollars in co-pays. My ability to run 1.5 miles, perform sit-ups and push ups was necessary for my membership in the Air National Guard so I had to find an answer. After reading an article on MSN about Foundations I figured I had nothing to lose so I ordered the book. I read through the first third of the book as quickly as possible so I could get to the exercise portion. After performing the first set of moves I was feeling much better. I continued to perform the exercises at least once a day for a week and found the pain was virtually disappearing. I was finally able to sit for long periods without discomfort and my running was so much easier. I now perform the routine 3 times each morning before heading to the track or the gym. The added bonus has been that I no longer have to stretch and rarely feel any soreness especially after running. Considering this book cost less than half of my standard co-pay it was well worth the investment. If you're suffering at all PLEASE give this process a chance, you'll be glad you did.