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THE PAIN-FREE BACK by Harris McIlwain, M.D. and Debra Fulgham Bruce, Ph.D. [Excerpt]

THE PAIN-FREE BACK by Harris McIlwain, M.D. and Debra Fulgham Bruce, Ph.D. [Excerpt]

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Published by Diversion Books

Whether it results from injury, osteoporosis, or an unusually intense weekend golf game, back pain is an all-too-common cause of serious discomfort that can debilitate even your most dedicated effort to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

It doesn't have to be that way. Dr. Harris H. McIlwain has devoted his career to bringing relief to sufferers of back pain and arthritis, and in The Pain-Free Back, he shares his clinically proven six-step program for achieving and maintaining a healthy back. With Dr. McIlwain as your guide, you'll be able to identify what's feeding your pain, and, more important, how to eliminate it without expensive medical procedures. This comprehensive resource includes:

o Resistance exercises to strengthen your back and ease pain within days of starting the program
o Tips for losing weight on a low-carb "pain-free" diet that helps control hunger pangs and a guide to healing foods that decrease inflammation and pain
o Back-friendly alternative therapies that ease pain naturally, as well as touch therapies for soothing various types of back pain
o Lifestyle changes such as ergonomic computer stations that reduce the stress on your back

Anyone who experiences back pain will find this an essential aid to recovering a full and active life.

Whether it results from injury, osteoporosis, or an unusually intense weekend golf game, back pain is an all-too-common cause of serious discomfort that can debilitate even your most dedicated effort to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

It doesn't have to be that way. Dr. Harris H. McIlwain has devoted his career to bringing relief to sufferers of back pain and arthritis, and in The Pain-Free Back, he shares his clinically proven six-step program for achieving and maintaining a healthy back. With Dr. McIlwain as your guide, you'll be able to identify what's feeding your pain, and, more important, how to eliminate it without expensive medical procedures. This comprehensive resource includes:

o Resistance exercises to strengthen your back and ease pain within days of starting the program
o Tips for losing weight on a low-carb "pain-free" diet that helps control hunger pangs and a guide to healing foods that decrease inflammation and pain
o Back-friendly alternative therapies that ease pain naturally, as well as touch therapies for soothing various types of back pain
o Lifestyle changes such as ergonomic computer stations that reduce the stress on your back

Anyone who experiences back pain will find this an essential aid to recovering a full and active life.

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Published by: Diversion Books on May 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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The Pain-Free Back: 6 Simple Steps to End Pain and Reclaim Your Active Lifeby Harris McIlwain, M.D. and Debra Fulghum BruceSTEP 1The Pain-Free Back Exercise ProgramWhen I first met Sandy Michaels, she had suffered from back pain for more than a decade. This forty-year-old software designer and mother of two had resorted to working at home because she could nolonger endure the painful thirty-minute drive to her office. Each time her car stopped in traffic, Sandyexperienced shooting pains throughout her back. Sitting at the computer workstation was painful, too, andSandy was afraid she would need surgery, which is why she came in for an evaluation.As we talked about her medical history, Sandy said that she had tried almost everything to resolve herback pain—from acupuncture, massage, and heat packs to herbal therapies, homeopathy, and evenbiofeedback. Nothing seemed to help. Even the strong narcotics her former doctor had prescribed wereineffective after she took them for a while. And the drugs made Sandy so exhausted she could not work or take care of her young children.When I asked how often she exercised, Sandy was quick to respond, “Not at all.” She explained her fearof injuring her back even more and that she was very guarded in all her movements to avoid more pain.“And, besides,” she added, “I blame exercise for my back pain, as I was first injured when I fell playingsoftball ten years ago.”Even though Sandy had such negative feelings about exercise, I convinced her that moving around withincreased activity was the best way—the only way—to help her to feel relief. Exercise would allow her toreclaim her active life again—a life without debilitating back pain and immobility. Sandy started thePain-Free Back Exercise Program, which you’ll learn about in this step, and within three weeks shesurprised herself with much less pain and greater mobility.Start Your Pain-Free Back DiaryUsing an inexpensive three-ringed notebook or PDA (Personal Data Assistant), you will keep a dailyPain-Free Back Diary throughout the 6 steps in this program. For Step 1, use the diary to record yourdaily exercises, including the type of exercise (stretching, strengthening, and conditioning), the time of day, the duration, and how you felt before, during, and after exercise. Also, write down how you feel afterusing the moist heat or ice applications on your back before and after exercise. Take your Pain-Free Back Diary (or PDA) to your next doctor’s visit, and review the feelings and any concerns you have
 
experienced during and after exercise. Talk about exercise restrictions, if any, and ask if medicationsmight help you to stay pain-free.After two months on the Pain-Free Back Program, Sandy told me she was sleeping better, taking lessmedication, and had gone back to work at her office, giving her the much-needed social contact she wasmissing while working at home. She even joined the Y and started a regular water exercise program tokeep her back strong—and pain-free.Sandy is just one of more than 100 million adult Americans who experience some degree of lower back pain each day. According to a new survey by the American Academy of Physical Medicine andRehabilitation, more than half of those people say that back pain interferes with their daily activities.Ironically, of those who complained of back problems, only a small percentage said they have gone to amedical doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. In addition, while almost half of those surveyedbelieve surgery is the only answer to their problem, in reality surgery is needed in only about 5 percent of back pain cases.Exercise and Your Back If you are like most of my patients with back pain, you are tired of hurting and probably cringe when theword exercise is mentioned. Maybe you identify with my patient Kim, a young woman who injured herback during a step-aerobics workout. Even though Kim was a passionate athlete, she developed a realphobia about exercise, fearing she’d reinjure her back again. Kim reasoned that if it hurt when she movedher back doing stretches, and it was not as painful when she didn’t, then being less active would help toresolve the problem. Wrong!Or, perhaps you’re like forty-eight-year-old Mac, a high school science teacher, whose back painoccurred when he bent down to pick a paper clip off the floor. Overweight and underfit, Mac swore off exercise for months for fear that the slightest motion would cause his back to go out again. “After all, if picking up a paper clip could cause this much pain and loss of work,” he said, “imagine what regularstrength training or stretching might do.”When back pain patients like Kim and Mac come to our clinic, the first recommendation I make is,“Exercise.” I explain that in almost every situation, whether with injury or degenerative disease, mostcases of back pain can be reduced—and even stopped completely—with regular physical activity.Stretching, strengthening, and conditioning exercises can result in stronger muscles that support yourspine and your body’s weight. And when your body’s skeleton is supported, you are less likely to sufferinjury and pain. A number of excellent studies show that when back pain sufferers start a regular exerciseprogram, including resistance exercise or strength training, they are more likely to have less pain, returnto work, and be active again. These men and women are also less likely to need as much medical care forback problems if they continue to exercise. I like to tell my patients that if they start the regular Pain-Free

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