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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
cautiously optimistic... 
1st-May-2008 01:56 pm
Okay, the New England Yankee side of me thinks it's much too soon to be posting anything about this. However, spiritualmonkey has been nudging me to write something. So consider this a preliminary report.

I recently got the book Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain by Pete Egoscue (pronounced ee-GOSS-kyoo, apparently) from the library last week. If you start researching back pain, Egoscue is one of the names that keeps coming up. Many people have recommended his work highly, but I hadn't read any of his books before this.

Egoscue's basic theory, as cribbed from the beginning of his book The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion: A Revolutionary Program That Lets You Rediscover the Body's Power to Rejuvenate It:
You are not moving enough to keep your body and overall health from deteriorating. And when you do move, because this "motion starvation" is acute, the movement violates the design of the body with every step you take.
Because the primary muscles aren't strong enough to do their jobs, the secondary muscles try to compensate (while still trying to do their own jobs as well). This torques the body out of musculoskeletal alignment, which makes it even more difficult for the muscles to move the way they should, which torques the body further out of alignment, which... you get the picture.

The books include set menus of exercises ("E-cises") intended to retrain the muscles and realign the joints. Do these every day, preferably in the morning so you start your day with movement and proper alignment, and you WILL (he says) see improvement.

I've been on prescription-strength painkillers for the past month and a half due to a sciatica attack. Two naproxen sodium intended to reduce the inflammation of the sciatic nerve, and three to six Tylenol with codeine, depending on the intensity of the pain. I don't like being on the codeine and have been trying, without much success, to taper down and get off it entirely. For at least two weeks, I've been trying to get through the day on two Tylenol, but by the afternoon I've needed to take a third, and by the evening I've often needed to take the fourth one of the day.

Sunday morning I started doing the E-cise menu for low back pain, once a day in the morning.

Yesterday afternoon, I looked at the clock and realized that it was 4:30 pm, I hadn't taken a single Tylenol with codeine that day, and I didn't need to take one then. And it wasn't a matter of toughing through it, it was a matter of not being in enough pain to need to take one.

At this point, I haven't taken a Tylenol since Tuesday afternoon, and I don't feel like I need to take one now.


There's an Egoscue clinic in San Francisco. I have an appointment on Tuesday. If four days of doing the generic low-back E-cise menu from the book can reduce my pain this dramatically, I'm eager to see what a personalized program can do.
1st-May-2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
I think that both your caution and your optimism are well warranted. These preliminary results are excellent. Best of luck! Are you going to be fighting spiritualmonkey for use of his Russian "girlfriend" any time soon? I just ordered one and should get it on Monday, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Edited at 2008-05-01 09:36 pm (UTC)
1st-May-2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
I got her a smaller, Bald russian boyfriend in the wings for when she's ready 2 start. ;-)
1st-May-2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Cool. I'm really looking forward to getting mine.
2nd-May-2008 04:23 am (UTC)
The monkey picked up a smaller one for me the other day — I feel like I'm so out-of-condition from my various injuries and recovery side-effects that trying to start out with Ivana might well be too much. So he got a cute little 9-pounder that I can get going with until I feel ready to move up.

He, of course, will be moving up as well, as he's got his eye set on RKC certification. No complaints from me on that front. Mmm, buff sweetie.

I must admit, I'm beginning to be swayed by the word-pictures he paints of a bunch of us getting together in a park to swing our kettlebells together...

After which, of course, we could all go eat! *grin* There are a number of restaurants that are better with more than two people.
2nd-May-2008 05:25 am (UTC)
I would be very down with that. I'm starting with a 25-pounder. Amy's been working out at the gym a lot, and it's definitely making her more muscular, in a very sexy way. I'm hoping to convert her to the Russian way eventually.
2nd-May-2008 05:29 am (UTC)
In Russia, gym works you!
2nd-May-2008 05:32 am (UTC)
It works us over pretty good here at $155/month for the two of us!
2nd-May-2008 12:03 am (UTC)
Hm, I think I'll have to check this out.
2nd-May-2008 03:37 am (UTC)
I will most definitely report back after my appointment!

And in the meantime, Worldcat says the Lincoln City Library has a copy. :-)
2nd-May-2008 01:22 am (UTC)
Dayum! No one should have to put up with sciatica for six freaking weeks. I searched for Egoscue on Youtube and found a couple short seminars by someone from his clinic. I can see why those exercises work! I had a bad spell with my lower back last fall and went to a physical therapist for awhile. It helped, but I definitely want to try the Egoscue stuff.


(The editor of this running magazine thinks he has to intercut w/ commentary, don't ask me why)
2nd-May-2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Oh, that guy. I have to admit, I found him so annoying we switched the video off the second time he came on the screen.

No one should have to put up with sciatica for six freaking weeks.

I've been managing to say "Thank you for this practice opportunity" a lot more frequently than "Damn, this sucks"... but damn, this sucks!
2nd-May-2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Hopefully you'll be able to practice with something other than your sciatic nerve soon! My mom had to have a laminar whateverectomy (a portion of a vertebra removed) because it was pressing on her sciatic nerve. If she had been exercising when she was younger, it need never have deteriorated that far.
2nd-May-2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
I found this one to be much less annoying because the editor guys isn't interjecting all the time. ;-)
2nd-May-2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, much better.
2nd-May-2008 08:41 am (UTC)
Great news. I always think movement is better than stillness for healing, if possible. I really hope you can free yourself from the sciatica.
2nd-May-2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
While walking to the bus stop this morning I realized that I'm starting to get the spring back in my step. I felt so happy I almost started crying.
2nd-May-2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Interesting -- I'm new here so I don't know if you've ever mentioned fibromyalgia, but my mother has it and I wonder if she'd be interested in this book/program.
3rd-May-2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
It doesn't seem to be listed in the book indices, but there have been several questions asked in the "Ask Pete" part of the podcast's website (painfreeradio.org).

It's not something I have any personal experience with, which makes me reluctant to start spouting an opinion. *grin* It does seem to me, though, that there are probably very few conditions that are improved by immobility and the resulting decrease in things like muscle oxygenation, lymphatic circulation, and things like that.
3rd-May-2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Mm, true. My mother has said that she feels exercise would help her, but things being what they are, she's often to tired to go about that sort of thing.
4th-May-2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, that part's insidious. Especially in the way it can contribute to beating oneself up about it — "You know you'd feel better if you did it, but you're not going to, are you? Noooo, because you're a bad, lazy person."

I keep telling that voice in my head that nobody cares what it thinks.
4th-May-2008 03:05 am (UTC)
My dad's a kind person, but he does have a tendency to think that you can just get over things like chronic pain if you really want to. So that sort of attitude doesn't really help, either....
11th-May-2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hey, I just ordered the Method of Health Through Motion from Powells! I should probably get his PC user's book too.
12th-May-2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
The PC book is one I'm very interested in reading. The Oakland library doesn't have it, unfortunately. I might have to pick one up after my session tomorrow. Gosh, honey, the book must have leaped into my bag while I wasn't looking... :-)
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