​The Revolutionary Work of Dr. John Scherger

​The Revolutionary Work of Dr. John Scherger

Posted by Eileen Durfee on May 20th 2022

Scherger’s impact on the world of sports

Back pain is a common problem for people of all ages and is a problem that costs the United States $100 billion each year. What is not widely known is the importance of spinal curvature and how training the body to restore its curve can help eliminate back pain. The best-shaped spine, an S-shape, has a mechanical advantage in gravity.

Woman With Chronic Back Pain

Ideal curvature is mathematical, and the late Dr. John S. Scherger explained it best. Dr. John Scherger was a D.C. clinic and academic director who developed a passion for understanding the “how” and the “why” relating to the human spine. Throughout the mid-1980s and the 1990s, he led a project to learn how to properly train and treat the spinal column, specifically the lower back.

Scherger desired to teach others about the spine’s function and how one could treat and train their body to help it restore its natural spinal shape. In his time, Scherger constructed revolutionary mathematical proofs of biomechanical engineering. His work resulted in the only method patent worldwide, in 1986, to train the spine to adapt to its ideal S-shape posture.

Dr. John Scherger’s passion for training began in the late 1960s when he worked for European Health Clubs as a fitness instructor. Scherger also credited his construction experience, in oil refineries and nuclear plants, for leading to his ability to identify the mechanics of how things are built and operate. In addition, he took from his chiropractic education, input from professionals, and his own experience with handling and analyzing more than 40,000 spinal X-rays for spinal biomechanical study courses.

Scherger developed many types of equipment and training methods for treating the spine. Among these pieces of equipment are robotic iso-kinetic, kinetic weight stack, and durable medical devices for home training programs.

Scherger’s impact on the world of sports

It is well-known among professional football players that the strongest athletes are those with a prominent, lower back curved spine. The quickest players not only have the most endurance, the best flexibility, and hit the hardest, but have large, curved spines. Unfortunately, as football seasons progress, players accumulate trauma, leading to loss of the curve and a stiffer and weaker back. The players also become more susceptible to pain in their lower back and experience more obvious medical conditions. Diagnoses include stenosis or bulged discs, and players find that the vertebra or spinal discs move out of place, resulting in pinching of the spinal cord or the nerves exiting from the spine. These conditions always lead to the vertebrae partially dislocating or moving out of place. Professional football players must undergo training to heal from the accumulated trauma to improve and preserve the global spinal curve and help restore the segmental posture of the individual vertebral joints.

New England Patriots Football Team

Scherger’s unique sports equipment was first implemented in 1987 by the New England Patriots and the U.S. Olympic Sports Medicine and Research Center located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. By 2000, the sit-up and pelvic tilt exercises, and an exercise device called the Power Cushion,were developed and successfully used in the Patriots’ medical training room. Scherger’s sit-up exercise helps enhance, restore, and preserve the global posture, while the pelvic tilt improves the segmental posture.

In 2002, the training staff for the New England Patriots officially purchased and began to use Scherger’s training and treatment equipment in the weight training room to help strengthen and condition athletes during the Super Bowl season. In Longevity Magazine, athletic trainer Ron O’Neil said, “Our guys really use the Power Cushion. It actually improves the posture of the player.”

Training with the Power Cushion became one of the best-kept secrets in professional football. Players used the equipment in both the weight room and the training room. The Patriots continued to use the exercises and the Power Cushion up through the 2008 season. Marcus Paul, a former trainer for the Patriots, was also on staff for the New York Giants when they won their own Super Bowl. He took his power training experience from the Patriots with him into the Giants’ training room, then later to the Dallas Cowboys. The Patriots, Giants, Jets, and Cowboys are the only NFL teams who are aware of and have employed Scherger’s training methods. Both the Patriot and Cowboy teams appeared to physically dominate the other NFL teams, helping to support Scherger’s vision of fielding superior physicality with stronger global and segmental posture.

Scherger put together a development team made up of the best professionals from highly demanding sports to refine the design and training procedures of the Power Cushion. It took years of refinement to result in the design that best fits the training needs of the musculoskeletal complex.

Unlike most products, the Power Cushion did not follow a quick rush into the marketplace without first undergoing extensive scientific trials. As a result, even with the best design possible, the Power Cushion was not yet publicly released.

Dr. Scherger also wrote the only mathematical course in the world based on lever system analysis. This course explains how human spinal development relates to Earth’s gravity and how proper spine training and treatment can help restore, preserve, and enhance the ideal S-shape. Scherger’s course on how the equipment produced fitness and health was put into biomechanical science and submitted to the National Strength and Condition Association. It underwent peer review for more than one year. Professionals did this open peer review regarding physics, biomechanics, engineering, athletic training, and physical training. It was then accepted as certified educational material.

The review took over one year due to the course containing completely new technology to the world. For example, technology could not determine why when football linemen go head-to-head, the player with a big curve would overpower the player with a flat back. It was unknown or demonstrated that a curved back could provide a better “mechanical advantage” than a flat lower back. Comparing two musculoskeletal joint lever systems in the act of producing leverage helped to confirm this. Comparing two postures in producing the physics musculoskeletal leverage was never attempted before, and all theories were only accepted once proof was demonstrated.

Burning Back Pain

Scherger’s courses contain all relevant findings, including why an athlete with a proper lower back curve has the most power and why they can run faster, jump higher, and have better endurance than other athletes.

Scherger’s innovative work lives on

Dr. Scherger eventually retired from full-time clinical practice due to family health concerns. However, his teaching and resources are still available for trainers, students, and medical professionals.

Inspired by Dr. Scherger’s research, passions, and developments, inventor Eileen Durfee went on to develop spinal fitness equipment based on his mathematical concepts. The origins of spinal fitness can be traced back to Dr. Scherger, who even coined the term "spinal fitness." Click here to browse all available spinal fitness equipment.