"Back RX - A 15-Minute-A-Day Yoga and Pilates Based Program to End Low Back Pain is an informative book written from the perspective of a physician and back pain sufferer. Its author, Vijay Vad, MD, is a sports medicine specialist, professor at Cornell University Medical Center, and Back Care Advisor for the PGA Tour. The prescribed program blends traditional physical therapy/rehabilitation with yoga and Pilates poses and has been shown effective for relieving low back pain in clinical trials.
This program focuses only on low back pain, so if your pain is in your mid back, upper back, or neck, this is not the program for you.
The first part of the book (Chapters 1 - 6) provides background information on the structure of the back, including basic anatomy and an exploration of the major causes of back pain including muscle imbalance, herniated discs, stress, age, and lifestyle issues. The four stages of low back pain care and recovery from stage 1 (the acute phase) through stage 4 (where spinal fusion seems necessary) are explained. The three aspects of a healthy back - flexibility, strength, and endurance are defined. Strategies for keeping your back healthy are explored, including the suggestion for positioning your body during sleep - on your side with your knees bent and a small pillow placed between them - which can provide significant pain relief. There are also explanations and illustrated examples of proper desk/chair ergonomics and methods for lifting, pushing, and pulling.
The actual physical exercise program begins with chapter 7, which provides an introduction to the poses - floor based yoga and Pilates poses modified to eliminate any potential stress to the back- and outlines a 9 week program schedule.
Series A, the initial program, is a series of gentle floor based poses designed to build stability and strength and includes a gentle bridge pose, abdominal strengtheners, knees-to-chest pose, reclining tree pose and reclining bound angle poses to open up the hips, as well as stretches done lying on your side. There are also several prone (lying on your belly) poses including locust pose and cat stretch.
Series B is built on Series A and is intended to return you to a complete active lifestyle. The poses are slightly more challenging than in Series A.
Series C is to be performed only when you can do Series B pain free and are the more challenging. It includes many basic Pilates moves - the hundred, advanced abdominal crunches, the criss-cross, reverse crunches, and reclining leg circles - to build core strength." (Continued via BellaOnline, Martha McKinnon) [Ergonomics Resources]