There are many I would like to acknowledge in my quest for a better understanding of back pain such as it is. At the outset, I am indebted to the many patients who trusted in my care, particularly in the earlier years when I knew so relatively little and who have over time tested my abilities yet taught me so much. It has been and still is a constant learning curve.
My early involvement ‘with spines’ was as a paediatric neuro-developmental physiotherapist managing adolescents with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis of the spine. My conceptual understanding of ‘functional movement control’ was limited and there was little in the way of actual movement science to assist the clinician in determining ‘what’s wrong with the posturo-movement control that this scoliosis happens?’ and ‘how do I help fix it?’
After completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Manipulative Therapy at the University of Sydney, I later set up in private musculoskeletal practice. In 1984, this course was then very Maitland based and ‘joint dominant’. While endeavouring to ‘improve my manual skills’ towards better patient outcomes I was still questioning ‘why does back pain occur and what is appropriate exercise therapy?’
In the subsequent journey involved in attempting to answer these questions I am enormously indebted to the early influence of Professor Vladimir Janda and his notion of the interdependent dysfunction of the neuromyo-articular systems which helped make
sense of the patient, where often multiple problems often coexist. While his work I consider largely did not receive the degree of accolade and respect it deserved during his lifetime, the direction of current research, diagnosis and clinical practice is very much
in line with Janda’s tenets that disturbed function is the ‘underlying mechanism’ which contributes to
the development of pathological changes and otherwise underlies most musculoskeletal pain syndromes.
I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of the growing body of important and more clinically relevant motor control research, a great proportion of which has emanated from fellow colleagues in Australia: Hodges, Richardson, Jull, O’Sullivan, Mosely and their associates to name a few.
I would also like to acknowledge the important insights gleaned from examining and exploring the work of certain pioneers in the realm of movement appreciation both healthy and otherwise. In particular:
Berta and Karel Bobath for their work on the altered qualities of movement found in the delayed and abnormal development of movement in infancy; and much later:
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen for her further insights into the developmental process and quality of movement Moshe Feldenkrais whose work facilitated my appreciation of certain fundamental aspects of healthy movement. I am forever grateful for his notion and the title of one of his books, The Elusive Obvious – which ‘deals with simple,fundamental notions of our daily life that through habit become elusive’ Ida Rolf for her insights into ‘structure’ and aberrant patterns of imbalance in myofascial relationships Mabel Todd who understood ‘bodily economy’ and organic posturomovement reactions to the problem of resisting gravity as expressed in her book The Thinking Body published way back in 1937 Irmgard Bartenieff, physiotherapist and movement educator who also influenced by Rudolph Laban, provided further insights into aspects and qualities of healthy movement. I would also like to acknowledge my various teachers of Iyengar yoga over the years and for some time the Feldenkrais Method, and thank them for their guidance and the subjective insights and improved understanding they helped provide.
In particular I would like to acknowledge my colleagues at Edgecliff Physiotherapy Sports and Spinal Centre without whose support and valuable contribution towards the exploration and evolvement of the work culminating in this book would not have been possible. Especially the Senior Associates, AndreaClift, Fiona Condie and Caroline Harley who have in particular constructively questioned and explored with me various aspects of the work as it evolved while also ‘keeping me in line’. I am also indebted to Andrea for being the catalyst for the inception of the Therapeutic Exercise and Movement Classes which we commenced eight years ago. These classes have taught us much and as our understanding of the real problems of the movement difficulties experienced in people with spinal pain has been better appreciated, likewise the rationale behind the classes and content has continued to evolve. I would also like to thank the Associates within the practice, Micky Yim and Ajantha Suppiah for their valuable contribution and support. All teams depend upon a ‘good organizer’
and we are all grateful to have had our ‘marvellous Nicole’ (Crompton) run the practice in such a professional and responsible way such that the therapists can get on with their task. Thank you also Nicole for grappling with all the complexities of permissions
and figure schedules – seemingly ‘the last straw’ when trying to honour a publishing deadline!
Perhaps most importantly, I would like to give special thanks to the real ‘godfather’ of this site – Leon Chaitow ND DO, esteemed practitioner and teacher, prolific author and editor of the internationally peer reviewed Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. It was his suggestion that the understanding and application of our ‘clinical detective work’ and the ideas expressed in our published
paper might be more fully realized in a book aimed towards practitioners. This work may otherwise well have remained ‘a sleeper’ – thank you Leon for your discernment and faith in its veracity. Finally, I would like to honour my dear husband Ian for his love and patient understanding and support in general and particularly during the time of writing this book when, of needs be, I was often ‘not there’.