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Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery Paperback – July 30, 2006
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From the Author
This book has been published with two different covers. It is the same edition.
About the Author
Jolie Bookspan, Ph.D. is an award-winning research scientist and former professor of anatomy and physiology. During her career she has been given the toughest assignments to find out why common training and rehabilitation techniques were not working, and what to do instead. The methods she developed are used by police, military, and top physicians and centers around the world.
Top customer reviews
My doctor said I had to quit driving to my job or else just live with the pain. Then my lower back cramped up one day when I tied my shoes and I couldn't stand up straight to walk around! I'm only 39 and I thought I was healthy -- what was going on? I spent $2000 on chiropractors and massages and though they helped me somewhat, it was only while I was getting the treatments. And I started to run out of money for treatments. NO ONE had any help for me; that is what I found so frustrating. No explanations, no reasons, no plans. I kept hearing, "strengthen your abs, do crunches, sit up straight, have good posture." I did lots of crunches, but I still had pain whenever I was driving, working, sitting, reading, etc. I tried to keep good posture, but "sitting up straight" hurt worse than slumping. The only thing that didn't hurt was laying flat on the floor. Great. Maybe I could get a job viewing the stars at a planetarium.
I found Dr. Bookspan's website online, read everything she had there, and bought two books: "Healthy Living" and "Heal Your Own Pain." Both are great and they complement each other. I started doing the exercises she recommended and right away things got better. Really. I also learned some things about myself: I could do crunches all day, but I was too weak to do a single push-up. My back was weak, my arms were weak, and my posture was terrible. That's why my back hurt. And I was so non-flexible in my chest, hips, and neck (the "front body") that I couldn't even sit up "straight" in order to fix my posture. Since then (about three months) I have been working on getting stronger and more flexible where I need to be in order to live and move like a normal human-- not some slumped-over cave dweller that moves from car to computer to beanbag chair and back again, gradually getting more and more rounded until I looked like an armadillo! The pain is gone, and I have much more freedom of movement in my hips, back and shoulders. I still can't do a "real" push-up, but I am working on it. it I know it takes awhile to retrain muscles after a lifetime of slouching and doing the wrong exercise. Thank you Dr. Jolie!
Your Own Pain" compliments my other two books and has helped MY aches and pains immensely. This is all you need..
I suspect that the very active nature of these suggestions will be the main problem with this book for many people. Most solutions here are in the form of things you need to do every day for some period of time, perhaps even the rest of your life, in order to adjust your body to work the way it's supposed to as we all continue to get older. There are some quick-fixes to be found in this title, but that's the exception. For example, I had been suffering for about a year with problems related to what she calls forward-neck. In literally five minutes after reading her description of the problem (as part of the extensive free information given on the author's web site) and finally understanding what had gone wrong, I slid my neck back into place using one of her suggested exercises. There was a little pop, and just like that the pain that had been haunting me for months was gone. Hasn't been back since, because now I've learned to feel when my neck is moving in the wrong direction and correct it before it gets bad again. I can assure you that her suggestions were new to me even though I'd been searching for information on this topic regularly that entire year, finding little useful advice anywhere. That was a great lesson that took only moments to learn; the rest of what I'd like to "fix...without drugs or surgery" is going to take a series of stretches performed every day for quite some time.
The bulk of the book consists of seven chapters focusing on pain in a specific area of the body: neck/upper-back, lower-back, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle/Achilles, foot, and wrist. The chapters are aimed to be self-contained, which is both good and bad. The good side is that if you have a specific pain area you want to focus on, you can dive right into that chapter and go. The main problem with this approach is that there is quite a bit of redundant content, and often the information about a specific exercise is split across several areas. This book badly needs an index. The main saving grace of the organizational issues is that the text itself is so easy and fun to read, chock full of helpful advice on every page, that you'll eventually want to read it cover to cover anyway.
Along with the exercises, you get an outline of medical issues that might be causing problems so you don't let a more serious issue go undiagnosed. As suggested by the title, the main audience that will appreciate this book are those who have already done a tour of doctors and therapists, been through enough tests to rule out major problems, and then were told that serious medication or elective surgery were the only options available. Sometimes, that's completely incorrect, and all the patient really needs is to is reverse harmful posture and movements that are the root cause of the pain--a topic most doctors are woefully under trained at giving suggestions on.
It's not a plan for couch potatoes, but it can work. As a long-time gym rat used to suffering for my gains, the thing that impresses me the most about the specific exercises advocated here is how good they feel to perform. The week I first tried Dr. Bookspan's somewhat different back extension exercises, that felt better than anything else I did that week.
Having read most of the popular titles on this subject during the two years I've been trying to correct my own pain issues, I can tell you with some authority that this book is destined to be a classic in this area. Much of the material is unique, and all of it I've tried out has been extremely helpful. The only area I'd really suggest supplementing this title's coverage with is that of multifidus training for resolving back issues. While many of the exercises here will strengthen that area, I didn't note any that taught specifically how to note weakness there and how to focus on it. Either Jim Johnson's "The Multifidus Back Pain Solution" or Rick Jemmett's "Spinal Stabilization" would make great companion volumes to this one (and reading all three books is even better), and anyone who enjoyed those two will find this one has a similar tone and approach, but with much broader coverage.
I would recommend that you check out the book's web site, try some of the exercises presented there, and see if they seem sensible and/or feel good when you try them. If you like how a subset of Dr. Jolie Bookspan's recommendations sound, I guarantee you'll love the more comprehensive treatment offered in this book.
Most recent customer reviews
is still useful, but I...Read more