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3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life: The Groundbreaking Program for Total Body Pain Prevention and Rapid Relief Paperback – April 26, 2005


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3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life: The Groundbreaking Program for Total Body Pain Prevention and Rapid Relief + Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain + 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743476476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743476478
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1: The Good News About Pain

I have a little anecdote I like to tell my patients when they first come to see me: I've got some good news and some bad news for you. First the bad news: You're in pain. Now the good news: You're in pain.

Sounds ridiculous? It does to my patients as well, that is until I give them the same information I'm about to give you. By the time you're done reading this chapter, you will begin to look at pain differently and see it for what it really is: a teacher guiding you to a complete and accurate accounting of what problems are occurring in your body.

Pain is not your enemy. In fact, it is one of your greatest allies. The simple truth is that pain is nature's perfect alarm system, designed to alert you that something is wrong. When this alarm goes off, you are being sent an unmistakable message that something happening inside or to your body is causing you harm. Why is it so imperative for you to see pain in this light? Because misconstruing or ignoring what your body is trying to tell you can have grave, even crippling, consequences. I am going to teach you how to recognize and interpret the signals of pain so that you may heed the sirens of this built-in warning system.

I know it may be hard to perceive pain as anything but bad, especially when you or someone you know is suffering. And a whole lot of people are suffering. Pain does not discriminate. It can strike whether you are a young adult or of advanced age, male or female, rich or poor. It doesn't matter if you are a high-performance athlete or a couch potato, a yogi or a mommy. I am well aware from my own experiences how much being in pain reduces your zest for living. It robs you of the ability to be up for all the challenges and good times that life has to offer and seems to hurt much more than it can ever possibly help. And to a certain extent that's true, especially if you're talking about the kind of pain that just won't go away. However, I am not suggesting that I think it's a good thing to stay in pain. In fact, I wrote this book so that you could live your life pain free. I want to help you develop a deeper relationship and connection with your body than you've ever had before. When you make a friend of pain, you will be acknowledging and respecting the intricacies and nuances of your body's design. Thus the first step toward living a pain-free life is understanding that the good news about pain is that you can feel it.

Without the ability to feel pain, you would be unable to survive. (Until recently, children who were born lacking this faculty had an extremely diminished life expectancy.) It is one of creation's great paradoxes that you incur pain in order to avert pain. Think about it. Pain makes it possible to navigate your way through the perils that are often a part of daily life. For instance, when you touch a hot stove, the pain you feel demands that you pull your hand away to avoid any additional harm. If you suffer an injury, such as a fractured leg, the pain prohibits any further use of the limb until it has healed. Likewise, if you develop a disease or suffer a major trauma, the body responds by sending a clear directive to your brain: Pay attention and take action now.

Not all pain is created equal. Although it may feel the same, there are actually different kinds of pain. They are generally broken down into two categories: acute pain (sharp, intense, immediate) and chronic pain (recurrent, persistent, long-lasting). In the preceding paragraph, all of the examples illustrated acute pain. This type of pain is characterized as an instantaneous symptom of a specific injury triggered by some form of tissue damage. Acute pain can be mild, such as from a splinter, or it can be severe, such as when you have a tooth pulled. Its duration can vary from a matter of seconds, such as from a stubbed toe, or to several months, such as from a bad burn. The important distinguishing factor is that there is a direct correlation between cause (injury) and effect (pain). In addition, there is a reasonable, almost predictable amount of time between effect (pain) and recovery (no pain). Treating acute pain is also fairly predictable because the injury itself informs you of what needs to be done to remedy the problem. Whether you can manage this treatment yourself, such as by putting a Band-Aid on a minor cut, or require medical assistance, such as needing stitches for a severe cut, there are some obvious steps that will eventually lead to the alleviation of your pain. In other words, when you fix what's wrong, the pain goes away. All of these factors make it easy to see why feeling acute pain is so vital to our existence. However, things become a lot less clear when we start talking about the main focus of this book: chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Chronic Pain: The Inside Story

No two words put together back to back inspire more fear, spark as much controversy, and cause as much confusion as "chronic pain." You cannot turn on the television, listen to the radio, open a newspaper, or surf the Internet without being bombarded by a plethora of information on this subject. I have found a lot of this information unnecessarily complex, often conflicting, and sometimes even highly inaccurate. Everyone, it seems, is talking about chronic pain because everyone, it seems, is in it. And that's no exaggeration. It has, quite literally, become an epidemic. The statistics in the United States alone are staggering:

• More than 100 million people suffer from chronic pain.

• 90 percent of the population will experience back pain during their lives.

• 70 million workdays are lost from pain a year, costing industry more than $100 billion a year in lost wages and insurance.

• 50 million people are partially or totally disabled by their chronic or long-term pain.

• 45 million people have severe and chronic headaches.

• 40 million people suffer from arthritis, 26 million of them women.

• 20 million people experience jaw and lower-facial pain.

• 10 million children under the age of 18 suffer from chronic pain.

• 6 million people suffer from fibromyalgia, a general diagnosis for the myriad aches and pains afflicting muscles, joints, and tendons.

You may be reading this book because you are already one of these statistics. Or you may be reading it because you don't want to become one of them. Either way, the information in this book will provide you with the help you're looking for. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: In nearly 100 percent of these cases of chronic musculoskeletal pain, the symptoms can be rapidly relieved and the conditions themselves prevented.

The word "chronic" comes from the Greek word for "time." Generally speaking, chronic pain could be characterized as any pain that recurs or persists over an indeterminate period of time. Like acute pain, chronic pain can run the gamut from mild to severe; and the duration of each bout can last from minutes to months, even years. What distinguishes the two is that while the source of acute pain can be attributed to an obvious injury or illness, many who suffer from chronic pain (barring the chronic pain associated with disease, such as cancer, or trauma, such as the chronic pain associated with nerve damage) do so seemingly in the absence of an injury. For instance, how many times have you experienced pain that seemed to just pop up out of nowhere? How many times have you said that "without warning" you couldn't move your neck or that "suddenly" your back went out? If these experiences are true for you, you're not alone. Millions of people around the world have reported the same thing. Likewise, whereas the recovery from acute pain seems to follow logically from the treatment of the injury itself, chronic pain persists in spite of, sometimes even because of, treatment. In fact, quite often there seems to be no logic at all; no discernible direct link between cause, effect, and temporary recovery. Chronic pain seems to come as mysteriously as it goes. Of course, there is a reason for the sudden onset and dissipation of chronic pain, as I am about to show you, but the lack of objective evidence pinpointing an actual injury has led to a great debate in the medical community on the very nature of chronic pain.

Because of its vexing and ambiguous qualities, many health professionals have been reluctant to even acknowledge chronic pain as a real ailment. I cannot tell you how many patients have come to me over the years after their doctors told them that their pain was imaginary, a manifestation of hypochondria, or a desperate ploy for attention. Although I am always appalled when I hear this, I am never surprised. Western medicine is dependent upon the tangible for analysis and care -- seeing, cutting, poking, and prodding. But chronic pain is intangible and cannot be quantified by most extrinsic standards, except that the patient is clearly feeling something. Because many of the empirical methods commonly used today for diagnosing chronic pain, such as CAT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and blood tests, are inadequate for formulating proper treatment, many doctors feel frustrated and impotent in the face of the growing crisis. Some have even dismissed it altogether. The situation has become as critical as it has in large part from widespread misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and ignorance.

The failure on the part of many health professionals to adequately deal with chronic pain exacts a devastating psychological toll on its sufferers. To be in physical pain is bad enough; to be given little support and offered no solution only leaves one feeling utterly helpless and depressed. The severity of this emotional trauma cannot be overestimated. Fifty percent of suicides give pain as motivation.11 Changing the approach to chronic pain has literally become a matter of life or death. Lately, the medical community has acknowledged an urgent need to reassess their position, and slowly a new attitude and understanding is emer...

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Customer Reviews

I haven't changed anything else in my life except read this book.
Betty
A very informative book showing that stretching and using your body/muscles the correct way can eliminate and prevent many injuries and surgeries.
E. Larsson, Licensed Esthetician & Certified Herbalist
This book is well-written, easy to read, and the illustrations make it simple to emulate the exercises.
Kate McMurry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Carl A. Dixon on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have lived with chronic pain for the last three years. I am old (58:) and very active physically. I have suffered pain that would normally be associated with having severe lower disk problems or maybe a pinched nerve - plus my low back muscles have been very painful. I work out carfully every day. I have had 4 MRI's in the last year plus a bone scane. I have seen a Neuro Surgeon, chiropracter(s), Orthopedic surgeon, family doctor, spinal surgeon and two physio thearapists. All of them have been helpful in some ways but no one can really help me or tell me what my problem is. My disks are fine and I have no pinched nerves. I purchased this book along with Framework. I read 3 Minutes 1st and started the exercises. I am completely pain free! I still find it hard to believe. It is over three weeks and I awake every morning wondering if my pain is back. I do the exercise for atheletes and have added a lower back exercise plus one for elbows. The total time is 4 1/2 minutes. I should mention I always warm up on my bike 1st so my muscles are able to accept any stretching. Plus the reading of FrameWork has helped in my weight workout. I have already recommended this to a friend and he is having similar results. The only reason I did not give it a 5 star report is that I believe he should have said more about warming up 1st and the book would be as good as FrameWork if he had added to the content to help those of us who are very athletically fit. But it is a great book and you will not regret purchasing it.
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Madeline Weinstein on June 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Seven months ago I experienced a very painful episode with my left knee. I was not aware of any causative event, but suddenly I could barely walk. I tried every treatment and product imaginable. I had an MRI, consulted two orthopedic surgeons, and briefly considered surgery as my only option. This was after spending hendreds of dollars on products (knee braces, heat and cold wraps, herbs, ointments, etc.), and trying acupuncture, physical therapy, massage, and a host of other therapies. I was unable to exercise, gained weight, and began scanning Modern Maturity magazine for walking aids! Then, my daughters gave me a copy of the book, "3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life", and I started to do the six therapeutic movements outlined in the book. I've been doing them daily now for a month and I have regained considerable mobility. I was able to start an exercise program and I'm amazed that I can now walk and exercise without pain. I even had my back go out on me, and I immediately did the specific stretches the book recommended. By the second day I was able to stand tall and move without debilitating pain. Another bonus of the book is that it is a highly readable layman's text of Anatomy and Physiology. I learned a lot about my body in the process of healing it. I plan to buy this book for everyone I know who struggles with chronic pain.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Chell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hardly a "revolutionary" program for those who have read anything about the muscular-skeletal structure of the human body, the interrelations of muscles and joints, and the importance of keeping the muscles stretched. But the author does offer an inviting, simple, and feasible set of six exercises which, if done religiously every day, 30 seconds per exercise, can prevent further abuses and damage (the title's apparent promise of restoration or a "cure" seems a bit exaggerated). Compared to the impossibly long list of tedious, often painful and exhausting exercises given me by my PT, Dr. Weisberg's program is cause for a sigh of relief.

Well over half of the book is devoted to anatomical discussions, motivational talk, and testimonials rather than the program itself. The heart of Dr. Weisberg's advice is the familiar "use it or lose it." The author practically demonizes the chair and the unnatural "C" shape that it encourages. The idea is to align the body to its natural center of gravity, producing the "S" curve. Anyone who finds it excruciating if not impossible to assume the squat position (maintaining balance on the heels is the challenge) or the split (only in my dreams) may be frustrated by the book's program of exercises. Still, anyone should benefit from these 6 exercises, even if some are not implemented to perfection (I'm structurally incapable of bending over and touching my toes--unless permitted to bend my knees).
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Daisy on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My problem: hip bursitis and piriformis syndrome. I'm three days into the stretches that this book recommends. Already I've received more pain relief than I ever got from anything I tried before, including physical therapy, acupuncture and a cortisone injection. I'm very hopeful that I will soon be pain-free.

Update: five months later, my piriformis syndrome is very much under control. I'm back to working out on a stair-climber, back to long walks with the dog, back to being able to sleep w/o pain killers. I still get twinges of pain, and must continue the stretches, but I'm so much better.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Fairlight Lucia on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I appreciated the educational aspect of this book a lot. I learned a lot about the parts of my body (always wondered what the difference between a ligament and a tendon was). Also the chapter on the different classes of pain-killers was useful and I understand more fully how they work, possible side affects, and know now which one to choose. As for the program of stretching, I think it is great. My only wish for the book was for some info on obesity and how to work the exercises when you're just too heavy to do them correctly. I fudged and used some of the alternatives for "seniors" that worked, though. All and all, a very helpful book and I look forward to regaining my flexibility and reducing pain as I work the program.
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