back suffererS' bible by sarah key

"This book is well written.
It has information in it that I have not been given by my physio. 
I have recovered very well by following the advice.
The exercises are explained and even more importantly, they work.
I am experiencing very little pain these days and only then when I don't exercise.
Well worth having."

Amazon reader's review 2015 

‘Back Sufferers’ Bible’ is designed to be enlightening and empowering; making it possible for you to treat your own back - effectively. With the book open at the right page, it aims to lift the veil of confusion about backs. It carefully (and simply) explains the way backs work, the way they go wrong and what you can do about it. It contains troves of information for patients and practitioners alike.

This book is considered the ‘market leader’ in both the UK and Australia.  Its foreword is written by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.  See the foreword here.

The book breaks new ground in proposing a working hypothesis for how a spinal segment breaks down. In explaining how impaired intervertebral disc nutrition hampers the shock absorption of a spinal segment and expedites breakdown, it also lays out the role of ‘therapy’ to reverse this process.

back sufferers' bible explains the causes of your back pain

Sarah Key’s Back Sufferers’ Bible is a best-seller written with the benefit of four decades of clinical experience. In this book Sarah Key postulates that most back pain is caused by a stiff spinal segment. A vertebra loses mobility through dehydration of the intervertebral disc it sits on. The stiff segment is palpably sore to the touch - but the stiffness cannot be seen by conventional MRI and X-ray.

Unless reversed, disc dehydration goes on to other things. it leads to progressive degeneration of the segment - and this happens more readily in the lower back because it takes more weight. A stiff segment can also be created by trauma or postural strains.

This working thesis comprises a new model for linking one spinal condition to the next, rather than assuming that problems crop up at random; nothing to link it to a pre-existing condition and nothing to lead it to anything more complicated down the track.

back sufferers' bible gives control back to you


  • It simply explains anatomy and physiology and puts you in control

  • It describes the stately healing and repair processes of the discs 

  • It explains why healing will be slow and therefore best done by you 

  • The self-help techniques are carefully described

  • The pitfalls and common mistakes of each exercise are explained

  • The new 3rd edition has a chapter on 'Dealing With Acute Pain Crises'


'The Back Sufferers’ Bible’ describes the five distinct stages of segmental breakdown from the very commonplace, though more easily reversible ’stiff spinal segment’ [Stage 1] through four more stages to the more complicated end-condition of ‘instability’ [Stage 5]. 

Stages of Segmental Breakdown Back Sufferers Bible

Depending on various ‘other factors’ such as genetic inheritance, fitness levels, occupation and even mental attitude, dysfunction of the controlling abdominal and spinal muscles may cause the simple problem to evolve in a linear progression through more complex ones as the problem intensifies. 

En route, the segment may experience developing forms of spinal pathology such as ‘facet joint arthropathy’ [Stage 2] as the disc loses height, ‘acute facet locking’ [Stage 3] as the disc loses pressure and intrinsic muscle control, ’disc prolapse’ [Stage4] as the disc transfers load from the nucleus to the disc wall, and eventually ‘instability’ as degeneration of both the disc and facet joints render the segment less stable.

The job of deciding which condition you have is made easier by careful descriptions of the signs and symptoms of each. The exercise guide for the acute, sub-acute and chronic phase of each disorder is contained at the end of each of the ‘Five Stages’. This section highlights the role of the sufferer in the therapeutic program, making it clear that the process is long term and the regimen must be a daily ritual.

The Foreword To Back Sufferers' Bible
by HRH The Prince of Wales

Nack Sufferers' Bible Foreward by HRH

You can buy the book together with a BackBlock and Ma Roller at the Sarah Key Physiotherapy Store.

To totally equip you to fix your own back, watch Sarah carefully explaining all about backs from A to Z. You will find it easy viewing and wonder why you never knew this before. Read more about Sarah's Complete Back Pain Video Package

Read about the controversial aspects of 'Back Sufferers' Bible'

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