ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Is the Back2Life back machine worth the money?
By Kelsea from Salem, NH
The Back2Life machine has previously been reviewed on ThriftyFun. You might find the comments helpful.thriftyfun.com (05/18/2009)
After 20 years working in physical therapy, one thing I know about back pain is that what is helpful for one person may not be for others because of the multitude of causes. I decided to try the Back2Life because of the 30-day return offer. Although it didn't help me, the product is well made and I can see how it might be helpful for some people, especially for relaxing muscle spasm.
However, I found the company lacking in integrity when it came to returning the machine. After spending 45 minutes on 3 occasions trying to get through the "Return" line, I had to endure very high pressure to try it for "an additional 30 days". I relented and tried for the extended period without improvement and, since I was nearing the end of 60 days tried to return it.
Bottom line, possibly a decent machine, but the company is interested in getting your money by any means they can, rather than being satisfied to make their profit from satisfied customers. Be careful. (And if you need to return it, choose the "want to purchase" option on the phone rather than the "return- option". They will pick up right away rather than leaving you on hold forever.)
I am sorry I ordered the Back2Life machine. I have read the other reviews concerning this machine and I have decided that we will keep the machine, but if anyone is thinking about ordering this machine for their back, I would tell them, "Save your money". The machine doesn't help a bit.
My suggestion to those who are considering the Back2Life would be to only use it for lower back pain and not major problems i.e. surgeries, fusions, this sort of thing. The $200 price tag is less than nothing if it works, but if that's the problem, then go to Bed Bath and Beyond. For $199.99 and if you go online you can get a printable coupon for 20% final cost to me $173.00, no shipping. I used it last night and figured out that I didn't have the height adjusted properly even though I am 6 feet 1 inch.
I got the machine a couple weeks ago and it helps me. I am 60 and had back surgery some twenty years ago. Additionally about a week after I got it, a kitten chewed through the power cord. I called and they sent me a replacement cord free of charge; not even for shipping. It might not work for all problems, but it helps me. I don't intend to return it, but they gave me great customer service. (12/23/2009)
By Joe P
I got my machine today. I assembled it no problem. I adjusted it to my height, but found it too short, so I adjusted it by an extra 4 inches. I used the nice little memory foam pillow and settled down for 12 relaxing minutes. The timer worked and turned of the machine in the recommended 12 minutes. The motion was gentle. Basically it is a cam that rotates which causes a gentle pulling and rocking motion. I can see the benefits in my mind over time. The machine seems well built, but the motor will get a lot of work. I hope it is up to it. (01/26/2010)
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I am considering buying the Back2Life machine. Does this product help if you have a lower back fusion?
You can look in the ThriftyFun Archives below the comments here but I personally think you should also broach this question with your back specialist.
Don't you have any recent comments on the Back2life machine in 2010?
I tried doctors, pain pills, I bought a massage chair, an inversion table,(hanging upside down). All helped a little for a short time. A friend bought me a true back.
I injured my back by lifting a heavy plant pot on Earth Day and I purchased the Back2Life machine. It made my back pain worse. It was a waste of money.
I just wanted to say because I see a lot of reviews on the back to life only really working for those who have lower back pain, but if you did order it over the phone, then you were offered (I was) leg weights. The legs weights are life 20$ extra but you pay it within the installment payments for the 4 months like 3$ a month. This is for taller people or older people with more back pain and it help to go more up your back, higher toward your upper back (the rotation). I hope this helps.
Bought one, did not work. It was clumsy to use and not effective. i returned it and bought a Back Cycler, another passive motion device. This one is portable. I use it in my car, at the office and at home. Plus I don't have to get on the ground and I can be productive while treating my back.
The BackCycler is half the price for 10 times the product. I saw it on the web and in Skymall. Good product. I recommend it.
Thank you in advance.
I, too, am suffering with back pain. I was told of this site by my mother-in-law. This is just my opinion, but I don't feel this is worth the price they are asking. It looks as if you could do the same thing by just lying on the floor and putting your feet up on the couch. You can move and stretch the same as they show to do with their device. I decided to save my money. Maybe others have bought one and tried it and can give us their opinions. Good luck. (07/10/2008)
I have a Hangups F7000 which I've had for about 10yrs; purchased from one of the Home Shopping channels..excellent construction, very stable. If you have to order via internet, see if you can find free shipping/handling...these are not very lightweight.
(my daughter lives in a different State) I believe I saw some inversion tables on Craigslist...
I am a medical researcher by trade, and I have back pain. So I investigated this "remarkable machine." The major proponent of Back2Life, Dr. Darrow, has never published any article in a reputable peer-reviewed journal supporting the claims made in the infomercial. I would never buy this product. (07/27/2008)
I was suckered in and bought this product with much apprehension. It was either this or a scooter, I have used it every day for 3 weeks now with remarkable results! I'm walking 2 miles a day after 2 days of using the machine, I will never say it was a bad buy, since for the last year my pain prevented my walking more than 2 blocks. Yes it probably is over-priced, but I could no longer afford uninsured physical therapy, and I couldn't afford a personal instructor. This for me was a last chance purchase with what amounted to be my last buck on disability. Now I have hopes to rid myself of my cane and get back into the work force. My daughter thinks I'm nuts, but even she can't deny the obvious results!
It may be that I'm just an anomaly, but I most certainly have benefited from this machine! I've kept the box - ready to send it back (30 day guarantee), after 3 weeks I'm ready to throw out that big space-consuming box. I actually got on this site to see if I could find others with similar experience. Well I was, and maybe still am suspicious of my benefiting from an infomercial product, but so far it's money well spent! (08/27/2008)
By lee evans
The Back2Life machine REALLY WORKS! I have 3 herniated disks, an impinged sciatic nerve and after years of "Pain Management Therapy", I've now been told I have spinal arthritis, as well. I use it every day and it has helped my pain tremendously. There a still a few things I can't do, like heavy lifting, but now I am not living in daily, excruciating pain while sitting and walking. Like the first person said, it has a 30-day money back guarantee! So, what's to lose by trying it? (09/03/2008)
The DEAD BUG exercise will have the same results. I've been doing this for several months, and I have had great results. Don't waste your money. (09/07/2008)
Look my friend, if you are really having problem with your back, then think 30 day trial. I was just getting ready to sign up for disc decompression therapy @ a price tag of $400/session. Then my wife tried to get me to buy this thing on TV. I laughed at the idea but she went ahead and bought it any way. To make a long story short, I cannot be more satisfied. The thing really works wonders. However my 80 year old mom does not have the patience to give it a chance. (10/06/2008)
I have peripheral Neuropathy and degenerative disc disease and after watching the infomercial a few times with much trepidation, I bought it on installment plan. Unfortunately, I had ordered other things over net in same time period and threw out box-not thinking. If I had not thrown the box out, it would have been mailed back, as I guess I was expecting more from it and it remained unused aside from two times until I had a really bad flare-up.
What I found that actually helps with this machine is this: I am 5-9" and there is no height indicator for my height so I tried the 5-10" setting instead and THAT actually helped me quite a bit. So NOW I am a believer, but I DO NOT think this is worth the price, maybe $100 would be more fair. To finally answer the orig. question, don't waste your cash. I bought a memory foam bed and that helped me more than anything else, coupled with pain management. (10/20/2008)
By Robert in Columbus
I did indeed purchase this unit. Not really thinking this through however. Because I have severe back pain (on SSDI) it is very difficult for me to get down on the floor to use this & then getting back up is even more of a chore. Unfortunately I am past the 30-day return period so am stuck with a unit I can not really use effectively. If there were a way for me to yet return this item I would do so in a minute. (10/27/2008)
I saw the Infomercial like so many that look for help with back pain. It sounded "to good to be true" and right there is your "Red Flag", but when you have back pain almost everyday you'll try anything! So, I ordered it and couldn't wait to try it!
The results were mediocre at best! So, after about three weeks using it twice a day I called the company to return it and the person said "Try adjusting the height two inches higher" and she extended me two more weeks to use hoping that would be the solution-Ok...two weeks later I called back and said I want a RA # to return the unit-the person asked me "have you tried using ankle weights? What? Now you want me to buy ankle weights to hopefully help?
I said that it just isn't worth the $200 + $30 Shipping-So, she gave me an RA # to return-
Well, now I have to go to the post office and pay shipping and insurance to have this thing sent back to them within 7 days-another $30 for that and you don't get back any shipping charges! Save your money on this one-But, you can take a chance on this product if you want too.
Some of these people that have written a favorable review, I am skeptical of who they are? Do they work for the company? Yeah...$200 for something that seems to be worth less than the shipping charges-Good luck! (10/28/2008)
After initial skepticism I bought a Back2Life a week ago and have great results. It is better and easier than the inversion table and cheaper and more available than the physical therapist I have used. Anyone on the fence should try it. It is not that expensive and you may make yourself very happy. (11/17/2008)
After the first day using the Back2Life machine, I realized I had no pain while walking. I never miss using it, once in the morning and once before bed. It's a lot smaller and easier to use than an inversion table. I highly recommend this product. (11/24/2008)
Hmn... several of the positive reviews here, written under several different names, using almost the same words. Suspicious? I personally don't trust any product that has to use message boards to market it. (11/26/2008)
Don't buy this garbage machine. (11/26/2008)
Way over priced! Try putting your feet up on a couch, similar to the way they illustrate on TV with the back2 exerciser, and slowly move up and down with each move while resting your hips to the ground each time and then repeat. I have tried this exercise before golfing, about 5 minutes, and it really loosens my back where I have no muscle tension. Now, this is me, and maybe your results will be different as backs are tricky and what works for one might not work for another. Try it if you can!
I am not a Dr. so if you have a serious back problem please see your doctor, strengthen you stomach, hamstrings and walk if you can. Also the exercise I do is a good for the tummy. It serves two purposes if you breath properly and hold you stomach muscles in. (11/27/2008)
Instead of buying this product try and find some exercises that loosen or strengthen the area you are having pain in. Possible exercises could be could include a Cross Country training program (Worked well for me in strengthening my whole body and helped my back loads) or if you aren't into running or you lack the time for such routines I hear Yoga is also an exceptional way to stretch and relax the body and mind. My 2 cents don't just turn to something because it looks good there's often better and cheaper solutions. (11/28/2008)
I am currently in the second week of my 30-day trial using the Back2Life machine. I waited a week to use it because I was in too much pain to drag the box down the steps and set it up and all. I have used it for 3 days now and I felt noticeable relief the first time I used it. It does seem to release spasms and open up the vertebrae. Interestingly, I noticed feeling more clear headed after using it too (I get brain foggy from CFIDS).
I was diagnosed with herniated disks in my lower back like 20-25 years ago I think. I'm 56 years old. My back was actually first injured when I was 17 years old when I was attacked at gunpoint and tried to fight off the attacker (bad story -- won't go into it). I'm just coming out of a really bad attack with my back where I was in a lot of pain and could barely walk for a couple of weeks. I mean, I couldn't even take care of myself -- feed myself, could barely manage to use the toilet (really hard to wipe one's backside when one can't reach it), etc. I looked all crooked, bent off sideways to one side.
I had a couple of treatments from a body worker who does trigger point massage (similar to acupressure) and Swedish massage. I also had a treatment from a chiropractor and bought an elastic corset type back brace from her. I was using a cane for weeks, but haven't needed to use the cane or brace for several days now. I've also been taking a drink called Supple for close to two weeks now (contains glucosamine, chondroitin and vitamins). Back2Life sells a pill containing glucosamine, but I have trouble swallowing pills and the Supple drink is vegetarian while the Back2Life one contains shellfish. Still, I really felt a definite improvement after I started using the Back2Life machine.
I had to set it at a much higher height setting than my height (I'm 5'5-1/2 and I'm using the 6'2" setting) to get the slight lift off the ground that they recommend. I also find that if I put my bare legs into the leg rests that my legs don't slip around like they were when I had my yoga pants on. I didn't find it all that easy to assemble, but then I don't have the strongest hands (a bit of arthritis). It took me a few tries to get one of the legs on it into position. Also, the height adjustment button occasionally stays in the depressed position, which is annoying, but if I press it again it pops back up. I've got it set where I want it now though so it's not a problem.
I will report back as to whether my back continues to improve and stay stable. I also love the memory foam neck pillow that came with it. I've tried several different cervical pillows, including a memory foam type one (but a cheaper version from a drugstore) and didn't like any of them, but I love this one. I haven't been waking up with my usual neck aches either. It's hard to know for sure what's doing what when you try various treatments concurrently (I was desperate) but I did feel immediate relief after using it the first time, so I do feel it's working. At this point, I think I'm going to keep it.
By the way, I don't think it's really fair to bash a product and say "don't buy it" when you haven't used it or tried it. It says at the website that it works for about 90% of the people who try it. That's pretty good odds. I think the machine kind of simulates a Trager work session. I paid like $120 for one Trager session many years ago so it's probably more expensive now. If I can get away with getting less treatments, then the machine will pay for itself. I can't afford it myself (had to put it on my credit card) but I can't afford to be virtually crippled and in pain and afraid to do housework. I mean, I hadn't vacuumed for months because my back was not good for months and I'm finally able to clean my house again. I can't afford to pay for a maid to come in. I have to become functional again, so to me it's worth the price in the long run. (12/01/2008)
By the way, when I was ordering the product, I told them that I wasn't willing to risk the $29.95 (or whatever it was) S/H fees both ways to try it and was about to hang up. They then offered to waive the S/H fees to send it to me. I didn't ask or expect them to do that, they just did. Also, I've been using a lower height setting because it just wasn't comfortable set as high as it was. It was too much pressure on my calves. (12/02/2008)
I have read every person's opinion here and shake my head at those who have mocked the Back2Life system who have never tried it.
I bought this machine for my wife. She has constant lower back problems and has been treated for it, but at $120/week that can add up to a lot of out of pocket dough and the doctor says the treatments will need to go for a long time sense the back is a delicate piece of our body. It took a while to create the pain they are experiencing, it is diffidently going to take time to get it treated.
Let me share a bit about myself. I'm one of those agents you hear on the other end of the phone when you call up to order one of these things. I handle almost every product you see on TV, but I'm sent more of these Back2Life system calls than anything else. I take at least 40 Back2life calls a day. At first people were full of questions, I answered them the best I could. I started reading everything I could about it because they were asking me questions that only their doctor could answer and I asked them to please consult with them first. I shared with them the www.getback2life.com web site and advised them to share it with their doctor's so they could check up on it first.
The Back2Life comes in a box in four pieces. The lower legs and the leg rest are the only parts you have to snap in place. I agree, I think the price on this system is a bit steep, but if you compare our price to what they sell it for in Europe, which is $600, it really isn't that much. The price of the machine is $199.75 and shipping is $29.99. Total out of the pocket price is $229.74. Now during the call we let you know that the B2L team has found that by adding a 2.5 lb ankle weight to each leg will help open up the vertebrae a bit quicker and you can pick up 2 sets for $24.95. Most people already have these. There is also a dietary supplement with 3 ingredients that all work towards relieving painful joints and discomfort.
There is a 1 year warranty on the machine, but you can increase that warranty by four years for $24.95. I figure that machine should help alleviate or fix my wife's back pain in one year or it's not worth having.
Also, if you pay for the machine in one payment, they'll send you their memory foam insoles you wear in your shoes to help what I call as shock absorbers to support those painful steps. If you're credit card expires within 5 months, you'll be informed of this and that you'll have to pay for it in one shot and you won't get the memory foam insoles.
They also allow you to purchase 2 more B2L systems at 30% off the original price ($60), but you don't get the firmapedic pillow with it.
You have a 30 day money back guarantee and that doesn't start until the machine is delivered to your door. If you do decide to send it back, it will not cost you $29.99 to send it since you won't be paying someone else to take it down to the post office for mailing. If there ever is a problem with it and you have to send it in for repairs, I'm not sure on this but I think I'm right where they'll tell you to also send in $29.99 to have them ship it back to you. I could be wrong and hope I am.
When I first set this up, I used it. I do not have a back problem, at least not all the time. As I was laying there letting it do its thing, I thought to myself, is this it? The machine goes up and away from you, pulling slightly at your lower vertebrae, then down for another sweep up. Five minutes into the routine, I gradually started feeling the pull starting in my middle back. Eight minutes into the session, I felt something give in my vertebrae. It was like something opened up, releasing what I would describe as air, gas, or whatever. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but I was impressed at what it did.
When my wife uses it, she is more able to sleep better at night. She uses is twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. She is starting to see the results. We have gone over our 30 day mark and she remarks that she is glad that I got it for her. I agree with one of the other people here, that my biggest concern using this machine is getting down on the floor (bad knees) and getting back up. An older lady was quite adamant about having to do this and the only thing I could suggest is maybe get a table that would support you well and place it on there so that that you don't have to get down and back up. This machine is not to be used on the bed either.
You lay down with your legs on the leg platform and it does all the work. The session goes for 12 minutes and then automatically shuts off. A long 10 foot power cord comes with it. People with severe back pain can use it more often than, but they advise you to allow 1 hour in between each session.
I've had people call back to order another one of these for a friend or son. Their testimonials of the product is superb. They are sold on the product and one gentleman said it was the best health investment he has ever made and he asked for a brochure and the CD that comes with the box to share with many of his friends having the same back problems. I undoubtedly will buy stock in it if it comes available. It is indeed worth having. Many people don't want to risk back surgery. This is their last option and is hoping for the best. I will not lie to anyone on the phone. If I can answer your question I will do so, but please consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns. If you have had back surgery within the past year, the Back2Life team advises very strongly to not buy this.
As for those thinking that because we are tall or way over weight, this is not always the case why we have back problems. I have had ladies call in that stand 5'4" and according to them they are in perfect condition other than the back pain they are suffering through.
I hope I've been able to answer some of your questions about this product. After discussing it for many weeks, I finally purchased one. I did not have to pay over and hundred dollars for it, but it was close and a good investment. Best of health to you all considering buying this. I have heard many pros and only 1 con. It was too cumbersome for the 88 year old to move it around.
Here's my input: It does work. If it didn't work for you it's probably either:
Sorry guys, I guess we can't all get what we want. Hey if anything, there's always Vicodin or some other painkiller. For the suggestions on using the sofas, couches, etc. Tell me how it goes. I'd like a review on THAT. Seriously, stop being skeptical. There is a 30 day money back guarantee. Just TRY it. You like it, you buy it. You don't, then you don't - bring it back. -_- (12/02/2008)
In my opinion it is a piece of junk, made poorly, flimsy construction. I got no results and it hurt me more then helped. Just a way for this company to make some money ($30 to send it to you and $30 to send it back. Pass the word, don't bother! (12/09/2008)
By chickyb56 AT aol.com
Glad I didn't buy it. Sounds like everyone (who sounds like a real person, not a paid associate of the company, as some one pointed out) says it's terrible. My father-in-law has an inversion table so I will borrow that and see how it goes. I suffer excruciating back pain and can't get off the floor without pain killers, yet MRI's, X-rays, and CT scans turn up nothing.
I am 30 and have had pain since I was 15 and it is now advanced to the point where I cannot do anything and am rapidly gaining weight. I have always weighed a healthy 120 pounds (5'7") in the last 2 months since the steroid injections stopped working from M.A.P.S (which worked for 2 years) I put on nearly 20 pounds. Since I can't do anything, I eat out of boredom too, then I have no way to burn the calories off. A little offended that 2 people said "lose weight!" or "exercise!" when having back pain in no way indicates you are unhealthy OR overweight. I was a model until age 29 and am now a kennel operator/ dog trainer/ musher/ of large, active dogs, I get plenty of exercise! But I am glad I came to this forum because I have noticed so many people refer to the inversion table as being the best option and I have one available.
Let's put it this way, if it really worked like they say it does, it should work for everybody. There would be no need to put "your results will vary" at the bottom of the screen; which means useless, so don't waste your money. (12/25/2008)
Bought this overpriced unit, and it actually created a problem with the opposite side of my injured back. Upon attempting to return it, the company would NOT take it back because I missed the 30 day return dead line. NOT HAPPY! DO NOT DEAL with the company directly.
I have pain in the upper left side of my back. Will the Back2life still help?
What muscles are stretched using the Back2Life massager? Is it just the lower back muscles or also the piriformis and gluteal muscles?
Has anyone used the Back2Life machine which is advertised on TV? I have a very sore back and am at the point of doing anything to relieve it. Thanks.
As a person who has been suffering with chronic back pain for over four years I was today alerted to the Back 2 Life product. If I was to buy this machine in Australia it costs AU$399.
I was looking at the Back to Life machine and wonder if it helps after a back fusion.