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Pete Egoscue learned a lot about pain when, as a Marine officer, he was wounded in Vietnam. He segued from patient to physical therapist, and now runs a famous clinic in San Diego, where he claims he's helped 95 percent of his patients cure chronic pain--including Jack Nicklaus and Charles Barkley, whose athletic careers he helped prolong. At the heart of his program are stretches and motion exercises to restore proper function to muscles and joints. His methods are often surprising and counterintuitive. For example, for foot pain, he suggests a series of hip exercises. In fact, this is one of the most startling books you'll read about the human organism. Egoscue has strong opinions about how modern life is changing the way our bodies function, reducing the tasks we must perform and thus reducing the functional range of motion of our muscles and joints. Fortunately, he offers movement exercises to restore what nature meant us to have.
From Library Journal
A celebrity physiologist shares his pain-relief method. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
An anatomical functionalist, Pete Egoscue, founder of The Egoscue Method Clinic in San Diego, has been practicing and perfecting his 'Pain Free' method since 1971. He helps more than 25,000 people a year recover from chronic pain.
Written by an author who has suffered with chronic pain himself, Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain takes a specific stand on why you're hurting and what you should do about it. In a nutshell, the idea is that chronic pain is due to imbalances in the body- mainly those of posture and alignment, which can be corrected through proper motions the book calls "E-cises". Here's a few highlights...
-the book starts you out with three chapters that go over its main ideas -from there, you go to specific chapters for specific problems (like the foot, the back, the shoulder, etc.) -you'll find lots of good pictures that do a good job of showing you how to do the exercises -you don't really need a lot of equipment to do the exercises- mainly some pillows or something to rest your arms and legs on -there are routines for maintenance, as well as specific sports (like soccer, football, etc.)
Mostly good stuff here, as you can see, and an all around sensible approach I thought. I did find the exercises simple enough, and will probably help relax a lot of pain sufferers to boot.
The negatives? Not many. The only thing I think that might turn off some people, is the time involved- sometimes its recommended you do them for 45 minutes to an hour. But, you get out of it what you put into it.
I purchased this book after being diagnosed with 2 herniated discs, one ruptured. My neurosurgeon told me there was nothing I could proactively do to remedy this condition, but I refused to accept this diagnosis and subsequently found and bought this book. I performed some of the exercises for back pain and felt some immediate, but not complete, relief. I knew, though, that I had a lot to fix after being in an extremely severe car accident several years ago. I was extremely impressed, however, with the physiological foundations for this form of therapy. It just made a lot of intuitive sense. So, I arranged to visit the Egoscue Clinic in Del Mar, about a 3 hour drive from my home. I'm now 3 visits into the 8 visit program and I could not be more impressed. These people are doing AMAZING things and getting people back to living functionally who thought they'd never be functional again. In the strongest possible terms, I encourage ANYONE to get this book, read it, and use it. And if you suffer from chronic pain that is seriously impacting your life, you owe it to yourself to avail yourself of the clinic's services. By the way, I've had the opportunity to meet Pete Egoscue and have spent maybe a half hour talking with him one on one. He's a very nice, humble man who has a sincere heart for helping people become pain free.
Pain Free is the simplest, most direct explanation of the Egoscue Method available...if you'd like to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over therapy, get this book.
Pete Egoscue deserves enormous credit for introducing the concept that structural integration - aka postural alignment - is the primary method for relieving all kinds of chronic pain. Western medicine is fantastic at combating "acute" problems (broken bone, heart attack), but has not traditionally been so great at tackling "chronic" problems... something that I think postural alignment really addresses much more effectively than most western physical therapy. I personally thought so highly of the Egoscue Method that after I bought and read this book I went to get treated at an Egoscue clinic (where I think they correctly diagnosed my problem), I bought his two other books, took the P3 seminar to get their lowest certification, and referred my dad and a good friend to Egoscue for their problems.
I would say that the biggest criticism I have of Egoscue is the time required to do the "e-cises"... these can literally demand 30-45 minutes PER DAY to apply appropriately. Also, Egoscue's depiction of the ideal posture, which I originally accepted as gospel because I had no comparison, I have since come to think of as slightly flawed.
I prefer Esther Gokhale's "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back" for two reasons:
1. It takes MUCH less time - you simply learn the Gokhale method and then integrate it all the time without separate exercises.
I'm going to have to lower my lathe about 4 inches. Hmm, well that's starting at the end. Back to the beginning: The first thing I noticed when I got the book was a blurb from Depak Chopra. Not very encouraging. The second was on about page 34 or so the author says the X-Rays are one of the biggest problems with modern medicine...and I'm an X-Ray Tech. The biggest problem is that all of the evidence is anecdotal, some even celebrity anecdotes, nary a controlled study in sight. But I'm afraid I've become an anecdote myself. After doing the shoulder pain exercises for a couple of weeks, not only has the pain gone away but my shoulder height has dropped about four inches. I can tell, because both of my lathes were set to be at elbow height, and now they're far too high. After doing the shoulder exercises for a month or so I switched over to the general exercises, and my feet, after 50 years, now point straight ahead when I walk instead of out to the sides. With a little deliberate effort at first, mind you. The book makes consumate sense. And it sure worked for me. Far better to buy and follow the book now before our modern propensity for the sedentary life gets you in trouble.