Innovative back and neck rehabilitation at the AZ Alma Hospital in Belgium

AZ Alma Hospital is one of the largest rehabilitation centers in Belgium. The hospital’s physiotherapy center has three complete sets of DAVID’s medical exercise equipment for the back and neck, shoulders, as well as hip and knee. In 1999, the hospital switched to David equipment. Today, more than a hundred patients a day visit the newly renovated hospital’s physiotherapy center in Eeklo, Belgium. In this blog, physiotherapist Tania Goderis, the center’s Therapist and Coordinator for care content rehabilitation tells about how their patients benefit from the David medical exercise solution during their rehabilitation process.

David’s variable resistance system ensures minimal stress on the joints during exercise

According to Tania, David’s variable resistance principle is what makes the devices so unique compared to other devices on the market. The system refers to how the resistance is applied during training to make the exercise safe and effective. For example, in spine devices, the variable resistance matches exactly the level of strength at each point of the movement and ensures minimal stress on the joints and optimal resistance of the muscle groups around the spine. This same principle applies to all of David’s exercise equipment including for the neck, shoulder, hip, and knee joints.

hospital physiotherapy center in Belgium AZ Alma hospitalThe team at AZ Alma Hospital’s rehabilitation center.

”The variable resistance principle makes the exercise equipment very safe and friendly to use.”


Most people with back problems experience problems at the start of the movement on, for example, a back extension machine. Using a Range of Motion Adjustment -feature, the exercise can be started in a more straightened position and the variable resistant will provide al lighter loading to start with.  As the movement goes towards the full extension the load is even lighter matching the very weak extension forces at this point.

For the patient, exercising is very comfortable yet very fatiguing for the muscles. Because of these features, the devices are very safe to use and there is a minimal risk of complications. In addition, we can place almost any patient (except for some contraindications) on the devices. Also, the variable resistance system ensures that patients who have recently undergone surgery can exercise on the David equipment at the early stage of their post-surgery recovery. Ultimately, this speeds up their rehabilitation process.


The introduction of the EVE system was a real revolution for the quality of exercises.

Tania explains how “the EVE system is a big step forward for the quality of our physiotherapy”. The EVE system provides great convenience for both the patient and the therapist. The patient can accurately follow their results on the device displays as they exercise. Meanwhile, the therapist is able to easily adjust exercise parameters and analyze objective training data in real-time.


“The EVE system is a big step forward for the quality of our physiotherapy.”


“Our protocols are fully standardized. We now also work with the EVE Questionnaire Module, which allows us to analyze all patient data in one central system quickly. With EVE as a virtual assistant, our therapists can better prepare the exercise programs using the patient’s objective data. The multidisciplinary team at AZ Alma consists of several physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists led by a physical therapist.

neck pain treatment at hospital physiotherapy centerA patient exercises on the DAVID Cervical Extension device.


How does the rehabilitation program work?

At the AZ Alma hospital, the pain rehabilitation program consists of 36 treatment visits with the David exercise equipment. The patient follows an individualized treatment program and does the exercises on the Spine, Shoulder, Hip and Knee devices. Below, you can find a more detailed list of how the hospital’s rehabilitation program works.


What does the treatment consist of?

  • Warm-up and cool-down: cycling, treadmill, etc.
  • David equipment training: based on the patient’s test of strength and mobility, we draw up an individual exercise schedule for back and ab muscles, as well as arm and leg muscles.
  • Individual sessions: we start with anatomy (explanation of the structure of the spine). After this, the patient will learn what a correct posture is in practice. We also provide stabilization training. After these basic lessons, we switch to group exercises in which we give a combination of stretching, posture-correcting, stabilizing and mobilizing activities.
  • Additional workshops: Relaxation, lifting techniques, sleep and pain workshops etc..


treatment for neck pain with neck rotation devicePatients training on the David Spine Solution at AZ Alma Hospital.


Development of the eUlift app

Besides her activities for the AZ Alma, Tania is also a board member of the Association for Ergonomics in Belgium. Together with several partners from the David network and with the help of a European subsidy from the Erasmus + programme, an innovative app has been developed about moving techniques for caregivers. This app can be downloaded in several languages via the AppStore for Android and IOS or via the browser:

Visit the AZ Alma Hospital reference page to learn more about the hospital. For more information about David devices, please get in touch with us via this contact form.