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Healing Back Pain Naturally - The Mind-Body Programme Proven to Work

by Dr Art Brownstein

listed in back pain

[Image: Healing Back Pain Naturally - The Mind-Body Programme Proven to Work]

If you are among the 70 + % of adults who have experienced back pain, this book will ring particularly true. Dr Brownstein tells his own riveting personal story of experiencing decades of agonizing back pain, including the graphic account of the surgery he underwent, in which portions of the bone in his spine were cut away, "thrown in the garbage can and muscle was sewn together to cover the hole". Here is a guy who has lived through hell and back and has survived to tell the tale.

The author first experienced back pain while lifting heavy loads as a summer job to help pay for his medical school. Looking back he is candid about how stupid and macho he was as a young adult, and about how much damage he did to his back during those years.

Following medical school he entered the Air Force and was put on active duty as part of the conditions of the military scholarship he had been awarded during medical school. In order to cope with incapacitating back pain, he popped pain killers and used every sort of paraphernalia around, including TENS and infra-red machines, braces, hanging boots and massage balms.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel's back came when he went surfing in the Philippines during an acute phase of back pain; this is what led to his surgery, leaving a huge hole in his back.

Somehow, despite the pain, he refused medical disability, managed to complete his military service, and finally sought refuge in a yoga institute in India. Discarding his pain medication, he describes how he plunged headlong into a "deep, dark cavern of hopelessness and despair. Anybody who doesn't think that pain can drive a person to the depths of depression and despondency, to the point of contemplating suicide, has never experienced true pain. It is pure hell, nothing less!

Over a period of some seven months, through doing stretching, breathing and relaxation exercises, along with his own eclectic practice of standing and lying on a large, flat rock in the middle of a secluded rice field in the hot sun, he gain considerable insight into the emotional, as well as physical factors behind his back pain.

The author became a student of guided imagery (visualization), emotional healing, and was helped along his journey by a wide array of practitioners, including cupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, yoga teachers, nutritionists and herbalists.

Dr Brownstein now runs a busy medical practice, cycles, surfs, teaches yoga and leads a normal pain-free life.

In this book the author presents his Back-to-Life Programme which concentrates on yoga-like stretches and meditative and breathing exercises. The key to this process is to strengthen the back muscles, since the origin of most back pain is weak, contracted or atrophied muscles. One of the most insightful aspects of this book is the author's depiction of the mind/body connection in back pain, bringing in the understanding that stress and strong emotions actually create nerve impulses of pain which cause back muscles to contract, causing pain.

There are many excellent diagrams, outlining the concepts of pain as a mind-body experience, as well as illustrating the Phase 1 through III set of gentle stretches, designed to strengthen the back and lessen pain.

The author's next emphasis is on relaxation, and acceptance of your pain, asking for help, not fighting, hating or being angry. There is a multitude of wide-ranging advice, as well as numerous meditations, breathing and visualization exercises. The author keeps to the pragmatic, providing reassuring tips about how to return to work and how to try to re discover the joy of living.

Several areas not covered in detail which I feel deserve to play a more prominent role in any back pain recovery scheme are the use of ice and heat, massage, and treatment by physical therapists. Apart from these omissions, I give this book full marks for wisdom, inspiration and correct advice, designed to help all back pain sufferers.

This book can be ordered from the Positive Health bookstore. Please click the Bookshop image at the top of the column to your right, then click on Back Pain.

Sandra Goodman PhD
ISBN 0-7171-3015-0

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