Using a BackBlock for the treatment of back problems is the brainchild of Sarah Key, the renowned Sydney physiotherapist, founder and director of Sarah Key Global (Australia) Pty Ltd., with an international reputation for fixing bad backs. Based on the traditional yoga block, Sarah Key's BackBlock is designed to help back pain patients treat themselves
It is important to know how to use the BackBlock to get the best from it. The 'pressure change therapy' regime of the BackBlock is very potent. It must be done for the right amount of time and the following exercises at the right rhythm and rate. You can't afford to do your own thing and leave any of the steps out, or you will not get all the benefit.
You can download this highly informative package of 4 videos by Sarah Key here
Sarah on video is a quick way to learn
Doing the 3-step 'BackBlock' regime involves pulling the vertebrae apart and pushing them together again to to circulate discal fluids. The alternating pressures push and pull fresh nutrients and waste products in and out of the discs. They also do other, less obvious things, such as stimulating the healing processes at a cellular level and teasing out tight muscles and ligaments.
Below is 'How to Do the Back Block' in 3 easy steps. Don’t worry about getting it all off pat right away. When your Back Block arrives, you'll find it has instructions written all over it! You can also watch Sarah herself demonstrating in the video above
Begin by lying on your back on the floor. With your knees bent, lift
your bottom and slide the Block on its flat side under your sacrum, that
hard flat bone at the base of the spine with the two dimples either
side. Usually you have to move it around to get it positioned just right
– and make sure you fuss around to do this. Remember my words: where
it’s most comfortable is where it should be.
Step 1a. Position the block under your bottom, not your lower back
From here, calmly straighten out both legs one at a time by sliding each heel out along the floor, and then relax (the most important bit!). Don’t lift your legs off the floor to straighten them. Don’t try to keep both heels together; get the feeling of your legs rolling out like two heavy tree trunks as you completely let everything go.
You will feel a sensation of agreeable discomfort in your lower back and across the front of both hips; more so as you relax and let go. And don’t be alarmed if you feel the familiar pain you have long complained of. If you search in the recesses of your mind midst all the anxiety of ‘is this right’ you will recognise a shriller potted version – almost a sweet pain version - of your familiar pain going right to the nub of things.
Step 1b. Lying draped backwards for 60 seconds
The action of lying backwards passively over the Back Block, gently opens out the lower back, just like pulling out a concertina. Of all the myriad movements you have performed in your life, you have probably never done this! And how old are you? And I hope you see it as remarkable that all you do is lie there while gravity does all the work. It separates the jammed lower vertebrae and takes you out of your habitual stoop. It is a brilliant combination, and really - so simple.
Funny to say, but this second step - rocking the knees to your chest –is almost an art form if done well. Done properly, it makes all the difference in the world. It is not a bounce, or a tug or a stretch; it is really a gentle, persuasive pumping action that also teases out tight muscles and ligaments. It makes such a difference to the results if you are doing it right.
Step 2. Knees gently rocking to the chest
You can rock your knees by holding behind your knees or on top of each knee, which may be better for letting the legs go wide, around your belly.
The rate the body ‘likes’ most is slightly faster than1 Hz (or one cycle per second). After all, this is the rhythm babies like, if you are rocking them to sleep in their carriage. It’s a calming, less is more, te-tump te-tump rhythm, as you rock your knees through a small range with your legs wide and ankles crossed (and if you’re doing it right – you’re almost fighting right now to keep awake!) This, I believe, is when you’re really getting things done, as you can feel cog-by-cog your spine and muscles let go and your back soften and relax. This is what you’re looking for.
Step 3. Fifteen knees to chin for every 60 seconds on the Block
It is imperative always to follow the Back Block with the low abdominal exercise of reverse curl ups. After rocking the knees first, to remove the cast-ness of your back, and make it easier to hump your back around the other way, you should go straight to these. If you fail to do the prescribed number (or worse still none at all) your back will feel stiff and sore over the next few days. Reverse curls and the BackBlock should always be balanced, otherwise the benefit is reduced.
DO NOT PROCEED WITH THIS REGIMEN WITHOUT THE EXPRESS APPROVAL OF YOUR TREATING MEDICAL PRACTITIONER OR THERAPIST. IF IN DOUBT, DO NOT PROCEED.
DO NOT USE THE BACKBLOCK IF YOU HAVE SUFFERED IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS FROM SEVERE BACK OR LEG PAIN, PINS AND NEEDLES, NUMBNESS OR MUSCLE WEAKNESS, DISTRIBUTED BLADDER CONTROL, SADDLE ANAESTHESIA, ADVANCED OSTEOPOROSIS, SPINAL METASTASES, OR ANXIETY OR MENTAL DEPRESSION, OR IF YOU ARE IN LATE STAGES OF PREGNANCY.
You can order your BackBlock here. You may be wondering why you need to order one, and not just use a yoga brick. The Sarah Key BackBlock has the instructions written all over it, so you never get it wrong. It is also the right shape and size to be the most comfortable for all sizes of humans.
It's always useful to see someone else doing the exercises to learn the best technique. You can see Sarah demonstrate how to do the Back Block in this 30 minute video, which is part of her Back Treatment Video Package. Just click the image for more information about how to download.
It's almost impossible to have too much information about the BackBlock and getting the best out of it. Subtle adjustments and corrections make all the difference to it working optimally - even make all the difference between it being something to endure, and pure 'doing things' pleasure.
Getting the best out of the Sarah Key Back Block
When you feel confident that you're using the BackBlock properly, it's easier to relax and let it do its work. If you never quite 'get it' the Block is somehow less effective. Read again here about getting it just right.
Using the BackBlock for the Upper Back
You often get more effective results from the lower BackBlock by using it under the upper back too. It 'stacks' you better over the spinal base.
You may be interested to view the results of an ongoing Survey on the efficacy of The Sarah Key Method.
Results of an ongoing survey on patient satisfaction with
The Sarah Key Method
Survey on Back Pain Self Treatment.
You may also wish to fill out your own simple It really does help when you chart how you're going.
You can choose from many different videos and packages here.
Order your book and BackBlock packages from the Online Store
We recommend you buy individual books from Amazon. Please choose your selection below.