Testimonial for Daniele Barbieri

I met the ATLAS centre thanks to prof. McGill’s book “back mechanics” recommended me by a Physical Education teacher seven months ago.
I immediately called Dr. Barbieri. I was depressed, I couldn’t get out of my bed anymore because of the pain and both the orthopedist and the neurologist didn’t want to perform surgery on me.
After Dr Barbieri’s very detailed and profound visit…I congratulated him because I never had a similar one by any neurologist nor orthopedist….he told me the pain was not coming from the L5/S1 disk, but from the instability present in L4 vertebra. Probably such instability was previously caused by the discectomy surgery I had had one year before and by the inappropriate exercises that I had been doing for the 8 months after the surgery. Those generic and not taylored exercises are unfortunately the standard regime that both orthopedic surgeons and the neurologist will prescribe for lower back problems like mine, in Italy.
Immediately after the visit, Dr. Barbieri instructed Stefano Silvagni, one of his most valuable trainer on my specific situation and all the thing I should learn and practice within my everyday movements. In 3 hours, in the Atlas gym, he gave me detailed instruction in order to:
– perform 4 specific exercises to do every day for my specific lower back pain
– delete all the injurious movements that would amplify and trigger my specific back pain
– help me solve the mattress problem, which was one of the cause of my back pain when I get up early in the morning.
After two months of exercises and spine hygiene every day, I managed to get back on my feet in the morning while the pain was gradually fading away. I could face the working day, sitting for many hours, thanks to the pain that was subsiding and to the specific rehabilitation-training regime I learnt!.
After seven months I definitely can say that I came back to my life, thanks to an healthy lifestyle for my spine, and only Atlas center has the skills to teach this at a national level.
Today I am also starting to do ATHLETIC TRAINING for the first time in my life!
Thanks to dr. Daniele Barbieri and Stefano Silvagni, this is the best Christmas present for me. Thanks to all the Atlas staff, who welcome you at the centre as if you were at home.
Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas!

Our patient, now a friend, Antonio Orlando


When I first met Dr. Barbieri, I was the only Italian competing in the International Master Sport class of Kettlebell Lifting in the 70kg category. I had won the World Championship in the Long Cycle competition. I looked upon myself as an advanced athlete, despite my experience I had many doubts about my preparation “Why do I get back pain?”
Before every workout I would do what I thought was a good warm up: Foam rolling (everywhere) and Stretching – mobility work before and after my training sessions.
After my warmup I started my training session but at a certain point, I felt something in my back. I knew it wasn’t a good sign, but my old martial art Master had taught me that: “pain can not stop you. You must go continue, for nothing in the world you must stop because it could be a matter of life or death. In war you can not permit yourself to stop”. Traditional martial arts are like that.
I did one more repetition I felt a stab in my back as I had never felt before and the kettlebells fell to the floor from a meter height. I laid down on the floor in foetal position and stayed there for 20 minutes. It took me a while to get up. The following weeks I could not tie my shoes, I could not bend my neck, I felt like a piece of wood. In desperation I tried to improve my situation by stretching.
After this acute episode of LBP, I experienced lighter episodes, which I tried to treat with all possible methods from osteopathy, phytotherapy, and massages. In the end, nothing changed my situation, except for the seldom brief relief.
Then one day, I accompanied my girlfriend to Rome (we live in Livorno), who had been suffering from chronic back pain for 20 years, to see Dr. Barbieri.
During that visit he told her something that was enlightening to me, trivial perhaps, but for me it was a not, he said:
“Training with pain is not normal!”
I made an appointment and asked Dr Barbieri if I could bring my kettlebells so I could show him a heavy workout.
The visit was long, detailed, thorough, just how I like things to be done.
The tests that he and his team did were specific, accurate, methodical.
After my demonstrative training session with them the sentence was clear:
“Francesco, your biggest problem is that the only time that you keep your back in the correct position is when you are on the platform. I have been observing your movements from the minute you entered the studio and every time you move, you move through your spine reproducing the injury mechanism”.
It was May 2017, doctor Barbieri and his trainers gave me a set of recommendations based on:
• Spinal hygiene, cleaning up the faulty movements that I was doing.
• Movement re-education: I had to learn how to generate movement from my hips holding the lumbar spine motionless.
• And last, but not least, they gave me core exercises specific for my demands.

Every day that God gives me, I do what doctor Barbieri and his team told me.
In October 2017 I won, for the second time, the world Long Cycle.
In March 2018 during the Italian championships I was the first athlete to totalise the same number of repetitions as my body weight in the long cycle, 67 kg weight, doing 67 repetitions.
Today I am preparing for the biathlon competition and I never have pain in the lumbar spine anymore.
Barbieri made me realize why I hurt myself every time. I abused my back! I was always bending it in flection, I really did it every time I moved. I rested in wrong positions always with my back in a flexed posture. I generated movement from the lumbar spine and not from my hips. I was continually stretching the musculature that instead needed to be stiff to stabilize the pelvis and lumbar zone.
The solution for me was spinal hygiene, movement re-education and core training. This makes me an athlete made of steel.

Francesco Rigoli