7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back and Neck Pain
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What causes chronic, debilitating back pain, one of the most common--and expensive to treat--ailments in the world? According to Robin McKenzie, a New Zealand physiotherapist for over 40 years and author of the wildly popular self-help manuals Treat Your Own Back and Treat Your Own Neck, distortion of the spinal disks--either from bad posture or injury--is the cause of the pain. The magic cure is the McKenzie Method--seven very specific exercises that allow the spine to return to its natural position. But forget the doctors--McKenzie asserts that the management of your back pain is your responsibility. Practice his seven unique exercises (the book includes seven each for the back and neck) consistently and at regular intervals and just about anyone can cure his or her own back or neck pain without the help of professionals. McKenzie believes self-treatment is actually more successful than medical interventions like surgery, chiropractic, or physical therapy, and indeed, recent research does show self-treatment to be a highly effective method.
More richly detailed and in-depth than his previous books, this volume is illustrated with over 100 photos and liberally peppered with real-life case histories. Starting with an analysis of how the back and neck work, it moves on to a discussion of the common causes of pain--bad posture is most often to blame. At the core is a detailed explanation of how to do the McKenzie Method exercises, when to apply them, and how to adjust your personal program over time. Included are instructions for people who suffer with acute back and neck pain (with appropriate cautions regarding when to call a medical professional) as well as for people in special situations like pregnant women, athletes, and seniors. An impassioned introduction by coauthor Craig Kubey, a satisfied convert after suffering intense back and neck pain as a result of several auto accidents, could very well make a believer out of anyone. --Marianne Painter
The phenomenon known as the McKenzie Method has helped millions of people with chronic back and neck pain. In 7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life, its founder, world-renowned physical therapist Robin McKenzie, shares the innovative program that can save you from a life of pain. 7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life combines and enhances McKenzie's back and neck books that have sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide. The 7 essential steps that make up the McKenzie Method have become the keystone for back and neck care in 35 countries, including the United States. In this easy-to-follow, fully illustrated book, you'll read about: * Common causes of lower-back and neck pain * The vital role discs play in back and neck health * Easy exercises that alleviate pain immediately * How to stay out of pain Complete with more than 150 photos and illustrations, and considered the treatment of choice by health care professionals throughout the world, 7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life will help you get out of pain-and stay out of pain. It is an invaluable tool for better health.
SImple to read and very helful for back pains This book was easy and interesting reading. It made me appreicate the importance of back exercises. I highly reccommend for people with a history of back pain....more info
Life changing? My wife and I both are both survivors of a high-speed train derailment disaster in India 9 months ago. We both sustained non life-threatening but painful injuries. My injury was to my lower back, my wife's at her neck. We have spent thousands on doctors visits, chiropractic care and medicine, all helpful but 9 months later we are still suffering daily from pain. We are one week into using this book and find it to be fantastic. We both experienced some relief immediately following our first exercise sessions from the book! The book costs less than a single visit to the chiropractor. Its worth trying if you are in pain....more info
Back Pain? Buy this book! If you are a person with back pain, this book is a must-have! It is very well written and is very easy to understand. The exercises incorporated by the Mckenzie method are simple yet very effective. It can help people with occasional or chronic back pain....more info
Instant Relief I tried the exercises in this book for lower back pain and was astonished to find that the pain had just disappeared after only 5 minutes of exercising. After taking anti-inflammatories of all sorts for 5 weeks, I had not been able to get rid of the pain. Performing the exercises repeatedly for a few days made me get rid of the pain for good. Nowadays, if I have the slightest back pain coming I perform the exercises immediately and the pain goes away....more info
This book will help you become pain-free This is an instant classic. I was in a great deal of neck pain when I opened this book and by the time I finished with the simple exercises I was pain-free. This is a must-read for anyone with back or neck pain....more info
Make this part of your arsenal I have suffered with back pain for 32 years, including three surgeries (all in the lower back) in the first 10 years of the degenerative disc disease. The exercises outlined in this book, which I learned in conjunction with physical therapists associated with the New York University medical center, have been immensely helpful in preventing on-going pain and any severe reoccurrence.
Of course, you should do these exercises only with the consultation of a doctor and/or physical therapist, especially if you have acute back pain caused by a protruding or ruptured disc. Also, of course, you should combine them (eventually) with a program to strengthen and stretch your muscles. But, as many of you know, with back pain it can be very difficult to do these other exercises until you have found fundamental relief to the underlying causes of the pain, and these exercises, properly applied and for the right cases, can accomplish this.
The limited amount of time they take (litereally a couple of minutes) make these exercises very easy to maintain over time.
Robin McKenzie has been acknowledged around the world for his work with back pain. His credentials are strong. If you have found many other books to be generic and not that helpful, this one is different. If the "popularizer" title puts you off, or if you are wanting a more in-depth anlaysis-- even if only to reassure yourself of the legitamacy of the medicine behind the exercises-- you can buy and read the formal textbooks he has written.
Help is at Hand I would never have believed that spending a few minutes a day with a little book could relieve my chronic back-pain, but I believe it now! I have lived with pain for years, and have had both my hips replaced. This gave me much relief, but I sit a lot, which causes pain in itself. My son has this book, and while visiting him I looked through it, and half-heartedly did a couple of exercises. I was surprised and delighted to find that my back felt better after a few minutes of the exercises. I ordered it from you when I went home, and when I received it I began to do the suggested movements as instructed. They are easy, have only to be done at my own pace, and the relief is extraordinary! The best thing is that I thought I would always have to rely on strong pain relievers, and it is now rarely that I take one, so the nausea I felt from their effects has gone too. An added bonus. It would be good to use this book before there was any pain - I feel it would keep the spine healthy for a lifetime. ...more info
It works, and that's the truth. My problems started in March. I had a sharp pain that lasted for two weeks and then a general ache that lasted several weeks. After two chiropractors, I went to a Sports Therapy Clinic, and they help resolve the initial problem using cold/heat, ultra-sound, TENS. By mid May I felt fine, and was back lifting weights, as I am a body builder.
In September the ache returned, and I went back to the clinic. After several weeks of traditional therapy, the Orthpedic doctor prescribed massage therapy. The nurse practitioner immediately noticed I had a posture problem, but after a couple of weeks of therapy, I still had an ache.
I stopped the therapy, and began reading several books on the problem. I purchased this book as a last chance, before exploring the possibility I needed surgery. I got the book on a Wednesday, and began doing the exercises over the following weekend.
Now I had been doing all sorts of exercises for several months to no effect. This book proposed extension as compared to flexation exercises. I write this on a Monday. While I can't say I'm healed, I am significantly better.
If you have lost hope, that you can get better, read this book before having surgery. I now believe that I may not need surgery at all, and may be able to resume my life....more info
The book that all chiropractors don't want you to know about I was only 18 years old when I injured a disk in my lower back. I had horrible chronic pain for 6 months, day in and day out, the only relief I could find was lying in bed. Then I discovered McKenzie's book and what a miracle it was! I followed all his steps quite seriously and I found that in a couple of months I was able to completely eliminate ANY sign of back pain. This book works! I spent countless dollars on two different chiropractors that did absolutely nothing for my pain and I was seriously considering sergery! It's only too bad I did not discover this book sooner!...more info
Saved me from surgery! I was preparing for surgery, and I searched once more for alternatives. The simple exercises in this book, along with other stretches for balance, have made an incredible improvement in my back pain!...more info
Definately worth reading and trying. The exercises are very simple and they do not take much time.
I have had chronic low back pain for years and the results for me personally have been very good. This book has taught me to focus on better posture. This combined with the exercises has reduced my lower back pain drastically and has improved my flexibility as well....more info
7 Steps to a Pain Free Life If you have not read others books on the same subject this is a great first read. Suggestions do work. ...more info
THE BEST For Back and neck problems,this is by all means the book. A friend of mine who is a physical Therapist referred me to this book. After looking at hers,,I had to purchase. It has helped so much with my back and neck injury's. A must for those to want to feel good again,,and heal. Perfect!!!! ***A plus,,get the Yamina ball studies also***,,,you will not regret it at all.Bought on her web site.......more info
The genius of simplicity Over the past many years and repeated bouts of severe back pain, I have tried many programs ( yoga, chiropractic, etc. ) in order to gain relief and to prevent future episodes. The simple, sensible approach from Mr. Kenzie's book is the finest program I have ever used. My back has never felt better, totally free of pain and restriction....more info
not that bad i read this book many times,it can help but i feel there are a lot of books much better..its good as basic knowledge only....more info
It Helped Me Correct My Posture and Eliminate Neck Pain Reading this book and going to yoga classes finally made me realize that my problem neck was really a posture problem. I used to try to stand up straight but I didn't seem to be able to do it more than a few seconds. Now I understand the anatomy of the spine and that, among other things, I was constantly jutting my chin out, and that this was sending everything else off balance. I used to get headaches when I stretched my neck in certain ways and of course I couldn't do yoga inversion postures like half-candle pose, etc. Now I can do those comfortably by reminding myself to gently retract my chin.
A word about the person who wrote the review saying he had badly hurt himself doing the exercises: the book does give careful guidelines about who can safely do these exercises. I don't remember them saying anything about "going beyond the pain," but they do say the exercises can, for a very short time, cause more pain, but that this is okay as long as the pain is centralizing - in other words, in my case, that meant that while doing the neck exercises, my pain became a little worse in the actual neak but left my head. Still, I was very ginger about doing the exercises and really didn't do them as much and as often as recommended. That was okay for me because, by correcting my posture, I got the same results. I think what another reviewer said, about checking with your doctor or therapist to see which type of injury you have (posture-related or not) is a good idea.
And I think it's probably a good idea to read this book whether you do the exercises or not, just to help you understand the common spinal disorders related to bad posture (which very, very many of us have). ...more info
Great Therapy! I read this book quickly in order to deal with back pain. After reviewing it, and in conjunction with a physical therapist, was able to recover quickly. My physical therapist was impressed that I purchased this book, as he stated that McKenzie is well known and respected in his field....more info
a rehash of his other books... while i found McKinzie's other books (treat your own neck, treaty our own back) to be great books, i felt a little duped when i got this book and it turned out to be essentially the same stuff......more info
A Pain free back I have enjoyed this book very much It has a lot of pictures and details all lessons In a very simple form this book can actually get you back to your old self. It Is very Informative! by doing everything in steps, and you can go at your own pace. I would like to add there are more books out there just use your own wit.
7 Steps to pain free life 7 Steps to pain free life-overall good book but I think it will take me about 50 more steps before I feel great again. But I keep trying, I learned about proper sitting and standing to take stress off my back which was helpful a little. I bought a ball to sit on like the author recommended and that seems to help some when I have to sit long hours in front of the computer....more info
Believe it or not, it works! I thought I was doomed to live with chronic lower back pain and recurring episodes of pain that often restricted me to bed. Not so after reading this book! I read 7 Steps and followed the exercises that were applicable to my problem and my pain disappeared completely. Yes, the potential for a recurrence exists, but by losing weight, doing the exercises, sitting properly, and using a lumbar roll, I am able to do just about anything; pain free!...more info
Incredible!! If you have back pain, get this book ASAP!! I received this book 2 days ago, and my back pain has improved dramatically. After getting no help from doctors, I decided to do my own research and discovered the Mckenzie method. The day I got the book, I was in such pain I didn't think I would be able to continue working that day. I did the "first aid" exercises for back pain, and had immediate relief. I was able to continue working and have hope now for complete recovery and relief from years of back pain....more info
highly recommended This is a great book for anyone with back or neck problems, either chronic or occasional. The author, a physical therapist, offers a set of exercises to do regularly to treat or avoid these problems, along with lots of other advice. My pain management doctor recommended these stretches to me, and because of them, I was able to avoid getting an epidural. The only caution: talk to your regular doctor before beginning this regimen, which is generally a good idea with any new physical activity....more info
don't waste your money Compared to other book I purchased this one was a waste of money and time. Poor format, uninteresting and dull....more info
The McKenzie Method works for me! In my opinion, Robin McKenzie is the preeminent physical therapist in the world and especially in my world. His is the one and only method that works for me. I should know, I am a veteran back pain sufferer, having incurred two surgeries both of which left me with a lot of pain. I came to the McKenzie method through my own research and lots of trail & error with other back exercises. After my last surgery, I was surprised that my physical therapist used the McKenzie exercises in their course of treatment, so it certainly reinforced the fact that I had found my personal path to controlling my back pain. The latest order for this book was a gift to my brother-in-law....more info
7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life I was told by my back Doctor to go to a physical therapist to learn how to do the exercises described in this book. I bought the book, learned how to do the exercises, and two weeks later when I went back to my back Doctor my sciatic nerve pain was almost gone. I probably saved $400 in physical therapy charges by buying this book as well as any charges in the future. What a value....more info
Good read for those with back pain Has stretches that definitely help reduce chronic neck and back pain. Recommended by my physician. Stunned that the chiropractor never told me about it!...more info
You Gain!....No Pain. Patient----heal thy self. If it's lower back pain you suffer from, definitely turn to the McKenzie exercises first. But... you're going to have to make a tradeoff: A little time and exercise in exchange for much, much less pain (or none at all). The first 3 exercises all start the same way: face down on your belly, head turned to one side. Progressively, through the first 3 of 7 exercises, you arch your back backwards toward the sky...while allowing your pelvis "to sag" toward earth...Don't forget to breath...and relax...and then repeat. McKenzie works you hard: REPEAT every two hours, at first. A small price for rapid pain relief! Yes, the book's layout is a bit cheesy and the black & white photos are repeated verbatim again and again. Who cares? It's cheaper and more effective than a chiropractor...and you'll know how to heal yourself should your lower back pain fire up again....more info
Book Review of 7Steps to a Pain-Free Life This book was written in a clear and straight foward style and packed with invaluable information for back and neck pain sufferers.
The no nonsense approach was not only inspirational but had practical and achievable suggestions and very specific exsercise and life style directions to better achieve pain releif from back and neck problems.
Words Can't Explain... I couldn't put on my own socks. I had a herniated disk from years of weight training, contact sports, and (now that I know better) poor posture. This book is the only thing that helped me. I'm so happy that I found it. I'm sending a copy to my friend tonight, for he has also herniated a disk. I told him over the phone that he shouldn't worry for help is on the way. BUY THIS BOOK!!!...more info
pain free at last Thank goodness for these simple exercises that really work. If I do them once a day, I can keep pain free and don't need the chiropractor any more. I have told everyone I know about this book, and no one will try the exercises. I am so grateful that I found the book....more info
Worked for me too! In February 2002 I developed a problem with my back after a rough racquetball game, followed by shoveling heavy snow a few weeks later. At first, it was a subtle pain/annoyance, getting worse when sneezing, twisting, etc. But after shoveling the snow I could not get out of bed the next day. The pain was terrible, especially in the morning. I could not walk at first without pain. I could not lift my left leg.
I went to the orthopedic who diagnosed "sciatica". I had an MRI done and it showed disc bulge in all levels of my low back ( L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1) with herniation at L4-L5.
I had "pain blocks" (shots in my spine) that did not help, and only pain killers made it possible to go through the day. After several months from the first attack, I was able to walk slowly (dragging my left foot) and the pain level was reduced to general discomfort with some random pain attacks on my left leg, below the knee.
There seemed to be no progress, until a friend mentioned the back extension exercises, advocated by a Physical Therapist from New Zealand, called Robin McKenzie. Until this point, I was trying to do a bit of exercises which involved flexion, usually lay on my back on the ground and bring my knees to my chest slowly. These felt comfortable but did not improve my condition. McKenzie says that you need to do the opposite, lay on your belly and push up trying to bend your back backwards.
A healthy person should be able to bend his or her back both ways, forward (flexion) and backwards (extension). Apparently, I had completely lost the flexibility for bending my back backwards and my forward flexibility was severely reduced. The extensions felt extremely uncomfortable at first, even painful. However, especially since my orthopedic said it was OK to try these extensions, I decided to give them a try and see what happens.
Within one week I was pain free!
That was late May 2002. But my problems did not stop there. I started physical therapy via my orthopedic. Instead of continuing with the extension exercises which had removed my pain, the PT started me in abdominal strengthening and other exercises that included a lot of flexion. Now, under different circumstances these exercises might have been fine, but for me, still having nerve compression, these were really out of sequence. Also, feeling better I started using the computer more and repairing cameras, which meant very bad posture for long hours. My progress was halted. Three weeks later the PT said I was officially recovered. Two days after that, I had another attack, as bad as the first one! I was devastated!
At this point I wised up and ordered Robin McKenzie's book. That was a revelation for me. I read the book non-stop and immediately started the extensions recommended in the book. In one week again I was pain-free. But this time I continued the exercises until the pressure in my toes was reduced. And I also corrected my posture which was the root of many of my back problems. I did go to a different physical therapist, one that was trained in the McKenzie system. She was a very nice person and it was nice having someone monitor and discuss my progress, but I could have skipped this and just followed the book.
This book is much more than a few simple exercises. It taught me a lot of things, from why I should not be lifting heavy things first thing in the morning to what is the proper way to sneeze (looking up). Most important, it made me realize how important good posture is. I always thought it was an afterthought. A good thing to know but not really important. Guess what? Posture is extremely important! The pain will surely come back if the posture is not corrected, no matter how many exercises you do!
We spend a lot of time sitting, usually with bad posture, and then we bend forward a lot. As a result of overuse of flexion, our discs are deformed and we are setting ourselves up for future back problems. The extension exercises aim to compensate for the frequent forward bending and restore the shape of the discs. They are actually a good thing for a healthy (pain-free) person to do.
Bottom line: Read the book and learn from the advice about good posture, etc. Then check with your doctor and if he/she approves the extension exercises, try them. They might save your life, as they did with me. Three years after my painful back pain attack I am OK, I have resumed running and completed 2 marathons, thanks to Robin McKenzie. Good luck to you!!...more info
Not a magic bullet, but it helps provide a measure of control over the pain I have suffered from lower back pain for the past 20 years. At the age of 35, I find that 'dinging my back' gets easier. An episode is very predictable now... between 4 and 6 days to recover. I know the drill.
About a year ago, my sister, who suffers from upper back pain, recommended this book. She said it changed her life. So I read the book from cover to cover and learned the exercises. In reality, they are all stretches.
A month after reading the book, I was shoveling some dirt in the back yard, and I got that all too familiar 'pop' in my lower back. Darn it... I immediately dropped to the ground and did the lower back stretches. The most amazing thing happened. The usual 5 day recovery cycle (and I know them well) simply did not happen. No pain but a little restriction in back movement. One day recovery, which is amazing.
So the book really helps me, and I completely recommend it. If you read all the reviews on this site, you will note some criticisms that the book does not address all types of back pain. Frankly, that is fair enough. The McKinsey Method targets problems with the spinal curvature (lolsarsis) of the lower and upper back. Luckily for me, those tend to be my problems, and they are fairly common problem areas.
So is it a magic bullet? No. No reputable doctor will tell you there is any magic bullet for anything. Does it dramatically increase your odds of establishing some control over your lower and upper back pain? In my humble opinion, yes. Are the exercises mostly preventative in nature, and just really good ideas? In my humble opinion, absolutely.
So if you are looking to establish some measure of control over your back pain, the book is worth a look. In my case, it was the best 10 dollars I ever spent, and has paid for itself many times. I used to see my chiropractor once or twice a month. Now I see him every four months for a maintenance adjustment. The difference is amazing.
The only back/neck pain book you may ever need. This superb text documents the methods for immediate recovery from either acute injury and strain to the neck or back, as well as recovery from long-term chronic pain of back or neck. Once pain is eliminated, there are steps for ensuring a lifetime of back and neck freedom.
This is not an exercise book, but rather teaches manipulations and stretches that specifically relieve the pressure in the discs of the back and neck, allowing them to repair themselves.
My personal experience involves over 20 years of chronic back pain, with a recent MRI confirming bulged discs in the lower back. (These methods will also allow ruptured discs to heal themselves as well...without surgery) The book was recommended by my boss, and in merely four weeks of religiously doing the recommended stretches (a 5 minutes session of back extensions every 2 hours), my pain has gone from a constant level of 8 or 9 (on a 10 scale) to a very manageable 2, with good evidence that I will be pain free in another month or two.
I recently went for a scheduled physical therapy appointment. My PT endorsed the McKenzie method and was trained in this method (among several others) and was not surprised that I had achieved the results noted above, given her strong endorsement of this technique.
Easy to read, the book provides a tailored strategy for your personal ve...more info
life giving book this book is important for every one who has a back "issue". given 5 as gifts to loved one's experiencing back pain....more info
7 steps Mckenzie book has offered me some new ways of working out my back pain.Found the information useful and easy to understand. I don't really understand his method but it helps me never the less....more info
7-Steps to a Pain Free Life This book is amazing. My husband has back problems and this book was suggested by a friend.....it is definetly a must read! The few suggestions have changed my husbands life and so many of our friends ...we passed the book along and one friend was thinking surgery but after following the suggestions he is now convinced he does not need the surgery. We have four friends that swear by this book and the tips the author gives...thay are pain free and have passed the suggestions to many more people. ...more info
More Effective and Cheaper than Physical Therapy My title says it all... after weeks of physical therapy to help my terrible neck/shoulder pain, very very little change had taken place even after doing the stretches they prescribed and trying all their various treatments (electricty, etc.). But after i found this book and read it and did the McKenzie stretches et cetera rigorously for about 2 or 3 weeks, I felt 100% better! I still use the stretches and practice good posture today and I am so glad I found this book....more info
Vast improvement! Within 2 weeks of practicing the neck exercises with strict determination, my 3 year neck ache was virtually gone! I, too have tried chiropractors and muscle relaxers and was frustrated with the lack of relief from these treatments. Now, 3 months later, I still do the exercises twice a day(it takes 20 seconds!) and have very rare flare-ups of pain. The book is simple to understand and has great diagrams/instructions....more info
Simple methods to resolve back pain While not a replacement for physiotherapy, I found this information very useful. Great read. Very straight forward and easy to follow instructions. MacKenzie's method is brilliantly explained in easy-to-follow steps. Best of all it works. One of the best do-it-yourself health books that I have read in a long time. I can personally attest to relieving back pain using Dr. MacKenzie's methods. The price of the book is cheaper than a single visit to a physiotherapist. Not recommended for people with no background in physical conditioning, therapy or fitness. The classical out-of-shape person that tries some of these movements will often set themselves up for failure. So, use some caution.
Author of Stomach Flattening
It works! This book is concise enough not to bore, but thorough enough to clarify the details. This has been the only method that has truly relieved my degenerative disc pain....more info