'Pain Free - A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain' by Pete Egoscue.
Recently I have been suffering from pain in my left knee. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh.
I am 100% certain this pain is not a result of running or yoga. I believe this pain is a result of becoming a sofa bear. Not only am I a sofa bear, I am a sofa bear that has started to eat junk food whilst in the act of being a sofa bear. Although I think the term sofa bear implies being someone who munches their way through millions of box sets. So to summarise up my life recently, I have been sitting around for huge amounts of time, eating far more than to fill any hunger pangs (it was getting to the point I didn't know what hunger felt like......maybe I need to develop an app that tells me when I am hungry, apparently there is an app that reminds you to rehydrate! (Evening Standard 10/08/15) ) with the odd run here and there and shamefully a tiny bit of yoga, if that. In other words, long periods of not using my body has led to certain muscles shutting down, lots more lifeless nutrition-less junk food leading to more weight being loaded onto my joints, feeling lethargic with sudden amounts of activity like running using compensating muscles has lead to pain in my left knee.
The situation came to ahead, when my knee became really painful walking up stairs that I had to hold the rail and propel my whole body up step by step, and take breaks whilst walking up and I finally changed the way I was walking up stairs so that my right knee was starting to speak to me. You see pain is the body's way of telling you something is wrong (aha another app potential.....I could make millions!) but these days we just ignore pain, we are told to go through it or we are so unaware that in both scenarios we wait until there is no other option but to stop what we are doing.
Having said that I must admit that although I was aware of the pain pretty quickly it took me some time to react as mentally I wasn't ready to do something and to be honest I wasn't experiencing pain walking, running or going down stairs so relatively easy to continue to ignore it. However, a couple of things forced me into action. Firstly have you noticed how many stairs there are at London Underground stations? Well I have, and embarrassingly grannies, small children and larger people (not being rude) were beating me up flights of stairs, plus my partner had to wait for me and he's older than me (sometimes ego is a good thing, it kick starts you into action) and secondly I started to struggle to put weight on my left knee which in turn began to affect my yoga practice. I was in a downward spiral which was only going to get worse.
Fortunately for me, once I decided to take action I knew exactly what I needed to do and that was brush off the dust from my trusty old 'go to' pain book called 'Pain Free - A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain' by Pete Egoscue.
My main message here is buy this book. If you are in any sort of pain, you have more reason to buy it immediately. However, if you own a human body regardless of whether you are or are not in pain, you should buy it to maintain your body before you get any pain. So to reiterate buy this book, read it and do the exercises.
This book makes sense on every single level. It is easy to read and the exercises are simple to do and are 100% effective very quickly. The author describes the body as a motion machine (see page 4). How amazing is that! No wonder there are so many people these days suffering from head, neck, shoulder, back ache, hips issues, knees, feet and so on especially as we are now encouraged to physically do less and less in every day life. In fact, and this a true story, last week I was running around the Alster in Hamburg, it was a beautiful day and I was thinking how lucky am I to be able to run here and how lucky am I that I can still move when I saw a young man about 20 years old on a side way motorised skate board (see link....https://youtu.be/lGGpVnghTIs) gliding past me and I thought ******* moron. Since then I have seen two more young ******* morons on these contraptions in London. Don't get me wrong, I love technology but there is a potential problem in my humble opinion with apps telling us when we are thirsty, machines to do the walking for us and the amount of time we are sitting around using devices.
This book touches on that lack of motion, awareness of the body and alignment in a very simple easy to understand way. It also talks about the body designed to last a lifetime if used properly something which I like the sound of especially as I get older and he talks about knee operations being a billion dollar industry! (Even hip etc. Note, operations should be the last resort.)
Anyway since I am recommending this book I've been thinking why I like it so much. The obvious answer is that because it works but secondly I feel it promotes the idea of restoring the musculoskeletal system back to it's factory settings, kind of like an iPhone! It teaches you to isolate and reactive sleeping muscles. I've used some of the exercises with clients, especially the one called 'Static back' and it has worked 100%. I've been doing all the knee exercises in order as the book suggests and my knee is feeling better very quickly, my yoga practice is back to normal and walking up stairs is so much better, I've got my speed back and movement but there is still some work to be done. In fact, I will be keeping these exercises in as part of my daily yoga practice. My legs even feel better after running, there are no twinges which had started to show up recently, again because of certain muscles being atrophied. The book recommends doing the exercises in a certain sequence which I do but I even find myself standing in the tube clenching my buttocks, 10 times. I haven't had any strange looks from other commuters so I feel it's a great way to use travelling time productively rather than sitting down with bad posture playing some stupid game with my head hanging down. Ouch!
For those cynics out there, I don't know the author and I certainly don't get any commissions, so just a honest recommendation from one who has benefited from using this book. If you do buy it and it works for you I would love to hear from you, if it doesn't work, let me know too.