Save Your Lower Back

Annette Fletcher
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Special Health Conditions

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I am in my mid-40s, and over the past few years, I have had several episodes of lower back pain. Given this, I thought this DVD would be helpful to add to my collection. Instructor Annette Fletcher is a certified Pilates instructor, certified personal trainer, and modern dancer. She incorporates some elements of both Pilates and yoga into this stretch workout, but she moves at a very slow, measured pace. Fletcher is featured working out alone and providing live instruction.

The Main Menu offers options for Welcome, Muscles of the Lower Back & Hips, Release, Strengthen, Stretch, Posture; there is also additional information on Fletcher and her DVDs plus credits and disclaimer. The Welcome and Muscles are each brief overview segments provided by Fletcher. I have given descriptions of the remaining segments below:

RELEASE (5.5 minutes)
Fletcher begins lying in constructive rest, simply allowing gravity to release the psoas muscles. Next comes knee in, other leg moving out extensions. This is followed by stretching the arms overhead while keeping the pelvic area stable.

STRENGTHEN (18 minutes)
Lying on the back, Fletcher starts this segment with a pelvic tilt, moving into several different bridge variations. Coming into seated, she performs a half roll back to release the spine. Next, she moves to the hands and knees for scapular isolations. Remaining in this position, she performs leg lifts, then moves into alternating arms and legs. Coming down onto her side, Fletcher performs side leg raises, circles, and small kicks. To finish, she comes onto her stomach for leg lifts, breast stroke, and elbow plank.

STRETCH (11 minutes)
Fletcher starts this segment on hands and knees for cat/cow stretches, adding a knee in and up. This is followed by a seated cross-legged forward bend. Coming to a lying position, Fletcher performs a cross leg stretch and a lying twist. She concludes with pigeon pose to stretch the hips.

From a standing position, Fletcher reviews important components of proper posture, such as distributing the weight evenly on the feet and keeping the thighs back.

Overall, I found this DVD to be very well done. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Strengthen portion was not too easy, as many of the therapeutic workouts that I have tried wind up being too gentle for me given that I am an experienced exerciser. I do wish that Fletcher had given some guidance on how the workout segments could be used separately: she states only that you need to release before you can strengthen and stretch. Done in its entirety, however, the entire practice is about 35 minutes long--quite a bit of time to devote to a therapeutic practice.

Still, I have done this entire practice several times in the last week. Unfortunately, I have not yet experienced any pain relief. This may be because my current areas of discomfort are more in my hip/side waist, but I had still been hopefully that this DVD might help. I will continue to use it, and as I do think it would be likely to help most with back pain, I would recommend it.

Instructor Comments:
I thought Annette did a good job overall, providing detailed instruction and good form cues as needed. She does have a slightly odd manner of speaking (at least to me), so you might want to check out the clips on YouTube first if you are interested in this DVD.

Beth C (aka toaster)