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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Hughes, PT, PhD, OCS, CSCS (Slippery Rock University)
Description: This book is written for practitioners who prescribe exercise for patients who suffer from low back pain. Unique to this edition are the photographs of all exercises with key points and teaching points. The previous edition was published in 2000.
Purpose: The purpose was to update the first edition with more integration of the science underlying the practical application of exercise in treating low back pain so practitioners can easily implement evidence-based care. This is a suitable objective, given the fact that many individuals suffer from low back pain and need guidance in exercise prescription to improve spine stability.
Audience: Physical therapists are the main audience, but athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, and personal trainers will also find the book useful. The author, a physiotherapist with over 30 years of clinical experience, operates two private clinics in England that specialize in back rehabilitation. He also is a visiting lecturer at several U.K. universities.
Features: The book is well organized, the presentation of material is colorful, and drawings are well defined. The 19 chapters are grouped into five parts. Part one thoroughly covers the anatomical and biomechanical basis of the lumbar spine, highlighting key points in bold print throughout. Part two includes chapters on posture, muscle balance, and teaching clients foundation movements to control the spine in a neutral position. Each of the four chapters in part three specifically addresses how to progress stability training using limb loading, unstable base, and gym ball and foam roller props. The first two chapters in part four emphasize proper abdominal training with critical analysis of sit-up and straight leg raise exercises. Plentiful photographs and figures help to clearly present the concepts. Chapter 14 discusses core strength development using resistance training such as free weights and machines. Chapter 15 presents more advanced training techniques using speed and power movements in developing core stability. Chapter 16 is unique in the way the author leads readers through a progression from training performance components of stability to improving a client's functional tasks. The material has a strong ergonomic emphasis. Part five discusses client assessment and essential planning in designing a spine stability program. The book concludes with five case histories to reinforce clinical application of the principles discussed. Unique aspects of the book include the wealth of information it presents, the plentiful figures that effectively demonstrate over 100 exercises easily referenced in its exercise finder index, and the how-to approach to presenting the information.
Assessment: This is a much needed book on exercise prescription for patients with low back pain. Although not clinically diagnostic, the book appropriately promotes movement awareness as one of the essential elements in alleviating back pain and improving spine stability. Very few books currently on the market have such a blend of learning and application dealing in this area. I recommend it as a resource.