Most people experience low back pain at some point in their life. It is one of the most common sources of discomfort which prevents us from completing the activities we love doing.
We know that back pain can impact your everyday activities and not let you live your life to the fullest. It can make you give up the things you love to do and limit your work and recreation.
Fortunately, we also know that one of the most effective ways to reduce back pain is by participating in the right type of exercise. Exercises to improve mobility, strength and fitness have been proven time and time again to reduce back pain. However, an online search will yield hundreds of possible exercises to choose from. This can leave you feeling confused when trying to choose what is right for you and your back pain. This is why we have developed the Healthy Back program, so that you can make decisions on your exercise with the confidence that they will help you.
The Healthy Back Program is a virtual exercise program which aims to help you reduce your back pain and to get more active. In this program, you will complete 20-30 minute classes that will enhance your low back strength, increase mobility and reduce pain. You can complete these classes anytime and anywhere. Choose whatever works best for your schedule.
Each class follows a consistent routine which includes these key elements:
- mobility and flexibility
- integration of your directional preference
- motor coordination exercises
Each new exercise class video consists of a progression of different exercises which help you to build back your strength, coordination and stamina.
To help you to complete the class with the best outcome, you will also have access to technique videos which support the faster pace of the exercise class. These technique videos go into more depth on each exercise in the class. You can use them to prepare for the demands of the full class or to go into more depth if you have specific questions on one of the exercises in a class.
The Healthy Back Program is also progressive in nature. It is structured with 5 levels of classes, ranging from introductory beginner to intermediate. Within each level there are a series of classes which are arranged from easiest to hardest.
This progressive arrangement will help you to know how to choose what is best for you. We expect that most people will be able to try the first class in level 3 and then increase or decrease the demand depending on how you felt in the class.
Once you find the right level you can progress as you feel ready by selecting sequential classes. To help you progress, each class consists of exercises included in a previous session as well as new exercises so that you can build on your foundation.
You can choose when you are ready to progress. If you find a class too difficult, you can choose to repeat the previous sessions until you are ready to move forward with the new demands. You will also have access to resource videos with tips and tricks on how to modify the exercises if you are having pain or are not feeling the right muscle during the exercises. These resources will help you to understand what you are trying to achieve and to exercise with more confidence.
With the progressive nature of these classes, the program is designed to support you throughout your entire low back pain recovery journey, from the initial pain, through the recovery stage and to help you make the transition to post-injury fitness.
In this program, we don’t just show you the exercises. We teach you how to complete them in a detailed and comprehensive way. Too many times in the fitness and rehab industry, exercises are taught quickly and without key information such as what the exercise is trying to accomplish, how to find the proper directional preference start position, where your back feels best for each exercise and what muscles you should and should not be feeling during a specific exercise.
The last point is particularly important. Understanding which muscles are required for each exercise and how to engage them is crucial to a successful recovery from low back pain. This concept is known as motor control and is used by top level athletes across the world. It is a central focus of the Heathy Back program. If you are able to improve your ability to recruit the right muscles during your exercises, your chances of recovery increase significantly. The program was designed to guide you through recovery from back pain and to help you live a more resilient and empowered life after recovery.
Still not sure if this program is right for you? Here are some of the testimonials from our previous participants:
“The program content and delivery were just right. A huge thanks to John!”
“Great tips, modifications and challenges given. John Gray is even keeled and personable”
“I thought the classes went very well and were very useful to me. I continue to do the classes.”
Think the Healthy Back Program is right for you?
On the fence? Try a Free Class!
Learn which exercises will help you reduce your back pain
Learn how to improve your fitness safely
Understand how to do the exercises right
Learn strategies to keep your back pain under control
Learn additional self-management strategies for low back pain care
Improve your back’s mobility and strength
Increase your ability to engage in work and recreational activities
Increase your confidence in your management of your low back condition
All this to help you to live life to the fullest
As a Registered Kinesiologist, John uses both conventional and motor learning based exercise to help you recover from a wide spectrum of impairments – from degenerative joint diseases and neurological conditions to orthopaedic surgery and cancer. His approach helps you to regain mobility and function, while managing pain, to return to the activities you enjoy doing the most. John works with all ages and abilities.
John holds both a master’s degree in Biomechanics from Queen’s University and an Honours Bachelor degree of Physical and Health Education from the University of Toronto. Before returning to his professional practice, John pursued a PhD degree in Spine Biomechanics under the supervision of Dr. Stuart McGill, where he was responsible for the operation of the Spine Biomechanics laboratory, published research on spine stability and contributed to projects studying the biomechanics of low back pain.
During his 25+ year career, John has trained with internationally-renowned experts in England, the United States, Australia and Asia. He is a Registered Kinesiologist in Ontario and holds certifications in Strength and Conditioning as well as Wellspring’s CancerSmart rehabilitation certification for health professionals. John has been a frequent presenter at national and international conferences, and is published in several highly respected scientific journals in Kinesiology and Physical Therapy. He has recently co-authored a chapter in “The Functional Training Handbook” on the biomechanical considerations for injury prevention and performance improvement in Weightlifting.
John has been the Sports Conditioning Consultant to the University of Toronto Women’s Varsity Volleyball Team, FIVB world-tour women’s beach volleyball athletes, and has assisted Archery Canada’s Team 2020 in realising their goals toward podium performances. He has previously been both a competitor and coach in Olympic Weightlifting. He has helped athletes achieve personal bests from recreational to Olympic levels of competition.
In addition to being the primary Healthy Back Instructor, John is available for individualized appointments at the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic, or can provide virtual appointments online across Canada. For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us at [email protected] , or phone us at 416-925-4687.
Aniela completed her yoga certification at The Yoga Sanctuary in 2011, adding courses in meditation, Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga shortly after. She then went on to become certified in Mat Pilates with Body Harmonics in 2013, Reformer Pilates with The Mindful Movement Centre and Leslie Parker. She is currently working towards her Comprehensive Pilates Diploma with Body Harmonics (2019) with a special focus on spinal health and injury recovery, as well as pre and post-natal care.
Aniela empowers people of all ages and abilities by teaching them how to move and care for their own bodies. She hopes her students find joy, safety and strength in their sessions which translates into better quality and functional movement in their daily lives. She is interested in and continues to expand her studies with workshops on the mind body connection, chronic pain, scoliosis, fascia, pre and postnatal health and recovery as well as working with the aging population. Aniela has had the opportunity to work with professional athletes, dancers, chronic pain suffers and those recovering from spinal injuries and surgeries.
Recently she has added the following courses and certifications to her education.
- Movement and Exercise for Pregnancy
- Post-Natal Reconditioning and Diastasis Recti Repair
- Towards a Healthy Pelvic Floor
- Strength, Balance and Fall Prevention for Seniors
- Handedness and Scoliosis
- Kinesiology of Pilates
When Aniela isn’t teaching or taking courses you can find her in the park with her dog, travelling, or in a plant store deciding which plant baby to add to her home.
We recommend you try the free Level 3 class to determine which level is right for you. This class is entry level for most people and you can scale up or down depending on how this felt to you. You can also share a link to this class with your spine therapist so that they can see what you will be completing. Always only complete what feels right for you. When you register, you will be signing an acknowledgement of these potential risks. If you have any questions about the program please reach out to our chief instructor, John Gray [email protected].