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7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back and Neck Pain Paperback – October 1, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What causes chronic, debilitating back pain, one of the most common--and expensive to treat--ailments in the world? According to Robin McKenzie, a New Zealand physiotherapist for over 40 years and author of the wildly popular self-help manuals Treat Your Own Back and Treat Your Own Neck, distortion of the spinal disks--either from bad posture or injury--is the cause of the pain. The magic cure is the McKenzie Method--seven very specific exercises that allow the spine to return to its natural position. But forget the doctors--McKenzie asserts that the management of your back pain is your responsibility. Practice his seven unique exercises (the book includes seven each for the back and neck) consistently and at regular intervals and just about anyone can cure his or her own back or neck pain without the help of professionals. McKenzie believes self-treatment is actually more successful than medical interventions like surgery, chiropractic, or physical therapy, and indeed, recent research does show self-treatment to be a highly effective method.

More richly detailed and in-depth than his previous books, this volume is illustrated with over 100 photos and liberally peppered with real-life case histories. Starting with an analysis of how the back and neck work, it moves on to a discussion of the common causes of pain--bad posture is most often to blame. At the core is a detailed explanation of how to do the McKenzie Method exercises, when to apply them, and how to adjust your personal program over time. Included are instructions for people who suffer with acute back and neck pain (with appropriate cautions regarding when to call a medical professional) as well as for people in special situations like pregnant women, athletes, and seniors. An impassioned introduction by coauthor Craig Kubey, a satisfied convert after suffering intense back and neck pain as a result of several auto accidents, could very well make a believer out of anyone. --Marianne Painter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In 7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back and Neck Pain Using the McKenzie Method, Robin McKenzie (Treat Your Own Back) explains that people suffer from lower back and neck pain when their lumbar and cervical lordosis (the curvature of the lower back and neck) is strained by poor posture or bending incorrectly to lift something. Through exercises that extend and flex the back and neck, he maintains, the reader can eliminate pain and the cost of frequent visits to a physical therapist or chiropractor.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452282772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452282773
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Generally, the McKenzie method works well with stiff spines that have lost the natural lordosis(lower back curvature) required to minimise pressure on the intervertebral discs. For hypermobile lumbar spines, these exercises may make symptoms worse and stabilsation exercises are more appropriate. A good physiotherapist will assess which category you fit into. The book serves as one of the best educational resources around, and anyone who has "bad posture" after reading it may have misread or misunderstood the text.
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Format: Hardcover
My problems started in March. I had a sharp pain that lasted for two weeks and then a general ache that lasted several weeks. After two chiropractors, I went to a Sports Therapy Clinic, and they help resolve the initial problem using cold/heat, ultra-sound, TENS. By mid May I felt fine, and was back lifting weights, as I am a body builder.
In September the ache returned, and I went back to the clinic. After several weeks of traditional therapy, the Orthpedic doctor prescribed massage therapy. The nurse practitioner immediately noticed I had a posture problem, but after a couple of weeks of therapy, I still had an ache.
I stopped the therapy, and began reading several books on the problem. I purchased this book as a last chance, before exploring the possibility I needed surgery. I got the book on a Wednesday, and began doing the exercises over the following weekend.
Now I had been doing all sorts of exercises for several months to no effect. This book proposed extension as compared to flexation exercises. I write this on a Monday. While I can't say I'm healed, I am significantly better.
If you have lost hope, that you can get better, read this book before having surgery. I now believe that I may not need surgery at all, and may be able to resume my life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few years ago I suffered a minor accident that resulted in progressive and long term back and hip pain. The orthopedic surgeon diagnosed severe sciatica. He put me on prescription pain meds, muscle relaxants and lots of bed rest. Actually, bed rest was about all I could handle as all of the prescription meds kept me in a constant mental haze (but did little to relieve pain). The doctor also referred me to a physical therapist 4 times a week (who has time for this - each session lasted hours). After 4 months of this with not much improvement I'd had enough. I stopped taking the prescription meds, switched to OTCs and began chiropractic treatments. A year and two chiropractors later the improvement was small but pain was manageable. Unfortunately the last session with the chiro left me feeling worse than when I began the treatments. Then I found Robin McKenzie's book. I could not believe the improvement I experienced after just two days of following his emergency exercises. After several weeks I had complete recovery. I have given this book to friends and relatives with back or neck problems and they have all found relief from pain and have gained full mobility. The funny thing is that the positions and movements that Mr. McKenzie prescribes are exactly what the chiropractors and surgeon told me not to do!
Go figure!
1 Comment 69 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In February 2002 I developed a problem with my back after a rough racquetball game, followed by shoveling heavy snow a few weeks later. At first, it was a subtle pain/annoyance, getting worse when sneezing, twisting, etc. But after shoveling the snow I could not get out of bed the next day. The pain was terrible, especially in the morning. I could not walk at first without pain. I could not lift my left leg.

I went to the orthopedic who diagnosed "sciatica". I had an MRI done and it showed disc bulge in all levels of my low back ( L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1) with herniation at L4-L5.

I had "pain blocks" (shots in my spine) that did not help, and only pain killers made it possible to go through the day. After several months from the first attack, I was able to walk slowly (dragging my left foot) and the pain level was reduced to general discomfort with some random pain attacks on my left leg, below the knee.

There seemed to be no progress, until a friend mentioned the back extension exercises, advocated by a Physical Therapist from New Zealand, called Robin McKenzie. Until this point, I was trying to do a bit of exercises which involved flexion, usually lay on my back on the ground and bring my knees to my chest slowly. These felt comfortable but did not improve my condition. McKenzie says that you need to do the opposite, lay on your belly and push up trying to bend your back backwards.

A healthy person should be able to bend his or her back both ways, forward (flexion) and backwards (extension). Apparently, I had completely lost the flexibility for bending my back backwards and my forward flexibility was severely reduced. The extensions felt extremely uncomfortable at first, even painful.
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By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My wife and I both are both survivors of a high-speed train derailment disaster in India 9 months ago. We both sustained non life-threatening but painful injuries. My injury was to my lower back, my wife's at her neck. We have spent thousands on doctors visits, chiropractic care and medicine, all helpful but 9 months later we are still suffering daily from pain. We are one week into using this book and find it to be fantastic. We both experienced some relief immediately following our first exercise sessions from the book! The book costs less than a single visit to the chiropractor. Its worth trying if you are in pain.
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