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Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery [Paperback]

Jolie Bookspan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Healthy Learning (30 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585189847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585189847
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 18.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 421,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Posture Princess 19 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Painful backs have many causes and potential remedies. Trying to fight your way through the list of wrong or less useful treatments can be bewildering to say the least. Enter Jolie Bookspan. She gets straight to the crux of the cause of the pain with a well referenced, easy to read book.

The emphasis is upon posture and muscle balance. There are a large number of photos and illustrative cartoons which take little imagination to interpret the meaning and also lighten up the academic nature of the physiology. Scientific terms are used when necessary, but the everyday translation is given in brackets straight after.

The first 120 pages are devoted to back pain, which serves as a springboard for the other chapters. However, the book is layed out in a manner where the reader can dive into any chapter to get straight to their personal area of personal joint pain. The downside to this approach is one of redundancy - phrases and advice inevitably get repeated, but I think this is a small price to pay for easy referencing.

Knee, shoulder and ankle were all very relevantly and clearly covered, often with respect to how the pain is usually caused and what to avoid, for everyone from drivers to martial artists.

I would tend to agree with another review with respect to the liberal anecdotes. These generally involve a patient practising the most damaging stretches/ exercises/ postures, then being shown the correct way by the author. This approach reinforces the contrast between good and bad practice, they are also frequently astounding examples, but occasionally detract from pure utility of explanation.

This book isn't the cheapest, but is still absolute value for money. On this level, it compares very favourably with an hour at the physio or other books I have read on back and joint pain. One final anecdote; it worked for me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique book helping with many common pains 5 Sep 2008
By Splossy
This book is designed to help the average person treat common muscular / skeletal ailments without recourse to drugs or other therapies. Example problems include back backs, sore necks, knees, shoulders etc. The author believes that there the causes for most of these problems is due to poor posture, muscle weakness, desk-bound lifestyles, inflexibility etc. The cures are therefore based on analysing your posture and movement and correcting problems with simple exercises and postural improvements.

The strengths of the book are: it covers a good range of the most common, chronic musculoskeletal problems; the exercises and stretches are effective in helping many of them; you can easily implement them yourself; it's not full of alternative nonsense.

The weaknesses are that the descriptions, diagrams and photos could be LOT better - this can make it slightly hard to follow at times despite the simplicity of it. There are too many anecdotal stories, some of which are a bit meandering and personal to be relevant.

Overall it's a very good book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fixing your posture 8 May 2011
By sal1701
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was so impressed with the amount of information provided online by this author, I just had to buy the book. Posture is everything and this book points out bad habits and more importantly, how to correct them. This book is a gem and one that I'm sure I'll be dipping into more and more as my aging joints start to play up. Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fix your Own Pain without Drugs book 12 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very informative book, loads of exercises to try out. I am hoping it will be well worth the money although I havent actually found the time to test out the theory over many months just yet ...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
92 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia of working out pain through exercise 25 Nov 2006
By Gregory Smith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Bookspan's approach is to teach you enough about body mechanics to understand how you are supposed to fit together, then give exercise suggestions aimed at either stretching tight areas out or sliding the parts that don't fit together back into place. A major theme is letting you feel how your muscles are supposed to work via the exercises so you can correct how you hold yourself and move all the time. Jolie speaks in terms of transferring what you learn about body mechanics by exercise into lessons for everyday life. Since the body is a system where misalignment in one area can cascade into pain in other locations, the book wraps up with some sample stories of people who started with one issue and then watched things go out of control from there. It details how these patients were eventually able to wean themselves off medicine (and often various quack "cures" like bad supplements) simply by focusing on how the body should work and exercising it until everything was back in place.

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.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't say enough good things about this book! 25 Sep 2009
By Always Learning - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a 39 year old professional woman. Dr. Bookspan's book is great and her techniques are so simple and effective. It is amazing. I got a new job last year where I had to drive up to three hours a day in L.A. traffic and write up a lot of reports. I started getting more and more upper back and neck pain. My left arm was tingling like it was hot with sunburn all the time, day and night; I couldn't move my shoulders much to put things on high shelves. I was scared that I had some kind of nerve damage.

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!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improved My Life in Less Than Six Weeks 27 July 2008
By D. Reinhart - Published on
I've endured more-or-less constant pain in my back and shoulders for years due to chronic cervical disk issues. Physical therapy and related exercises have had little impact. Surgery and injections are risky in the cervical spine, so I live with it.

Enter Dr. Bookspan's guidance. Two of the simple exercises in the neck pain portion of this book provided an immediate degree of relief! The benefits were not temporary - I've enjoyed improvement every week for the past six weeks, along with the ability to reduce use of pain killers. It takes me about ten minutes a day to perform the exercies, and I'm already having occasional pain-free days. I expect a pain-free week soon, which would be the first in a long time.

Her innovative and novel approach works for me, and I'm grateful. Many thanks to Dr. Jolie Bookspan for publishing these remedies!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars kind of like a manual on how to NOT damage yourself 22 Nov 2007
By Andrew Seigel - Published on
For those wishing to fix their aches and pains without resorting to surgery or turning to meds, this is a powerful first step. And as noted in previous reviews, you need to get up off the couch and just DO IT! Dr. Bookspan takes a practical, functional approach to addressing many of the problems we encounter each day and zeros in on the fact that we are often our own worst enemy - we don't want the pain but we often inflict it upon ourselves through poor posture, lack of proper diet/exercise, and improper lifting, moving, sitting, etc. The exercises and stretching WILL remedy many of the readers problems IF properly applied and put into daily practice (yes, you have to follow the wisdom to gain the benefits). The trick is to apply them, use them, and develop an awareness of when you're moving/sitting/lifting/standing incorrectly. USE the stretches and exercises, make the changes and you will see the difference. The author does not suggest that you will never have to resort to surgery or medication; rather, you may not have to if you implement these practices. And wouldn't we all rather avoid going under the knife and not having to pop a pill? The book is a most worthwhile investment and should be read by every doctor as well so that they could dispense this wisdom as quickly as they take out their prescription pads.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY HELPFUL BOOK 7 Nov 2007
By C. white - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have had numerous massages, injections into back, pain and anti inflammatory drugs, with short term relief from back pain. Dr. jolies book has helped a great deal. I have had poor posture most of my life. This book has taught me how to correct my posture and is worth the few dollars it cost. I highly recommend it to anyone who suffers from back pain.
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