Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Pain Free

Pain Free
by Pete Egoscue and Roger Gittines
Published 2000
298 pages

If you accept Dan John's idea that the body is one piece, you'll understand this book's approach, too. The basic idea is that the body must move, and move correctly, to be healthy. Chronic pain is a sign of dysfunction that must be fixed with proper movement, not drugs or surgery. Pain isn't based at the site of pain (usually) but rather is the result of cascading dysfunction from some original point of problem.

The book starts with an introduction, and a general discussion of chronic pain. From there, it goes into specific body areas and how to deal with pain there. The book starts at the feet up. Each chapter discusses pain in that body part in general, gives a description of a successful or "too late to fix" case, and then gets into specifics. Each chapter has an explanation of how the pain and dysfunction starts, and how to address it.

The exercises - "e-cises" - are well-described and illustrated well. The descriptions are concise enough for easy read through, and clear enough to follow after one read. While it's not always immediately clear why an exercise might help a remote body part, the text explains how and why a, say, hip adductor exercise will help an ailing shoulder. The whole "body as one piece" approach makes sense.

Nicely each program gives you an estimation of the time needed (and it's pretty accurate) and the frequency.

The book also includes a general maintenance program and specific programs for dealing with common sports pain. It's both aimed at being curative (fix the dysfunction) and palliative (relieve the immediate pain), and ultimately preventative (keep you moving properly so it doesn't happen again). They do seem to work, too - pain reduction in my personal experience and those of I've used the programs is immediate, and in the medium term the pain is less intense. Long-term, it's not clear, but it's reasonable to expect that to continue.

The maintenance plan also makes a nice general mobility warmup, or active rest on off days - it's easy movement through natural ranges of motion.

Content: 5
out of 5.
Presentation: 4 out of 5. The main downside to the book is the amount of flipping each exercise requires. This is a useful space saver, but it means you flip back and forth when actually following the exercise lists.

Overall: If you're in pain chronically, or you know someone who is, this is an excellent resource. No mysticism or mumbo-jumbo, just motion to effect improved function. The maintenance program is half-bad as a warmup, either, or as general mobility prep. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. These exercises have helped my Achilles tendon microtears as much as PT did.
    Great book.


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