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Review: Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain

Stopping Chronic Pain - The Story of Pete Egoscue

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Updated April 09, 2014

Pete Egoscue, having suffered a debilitating hip injury while in the Marine Corps, was told by doctors there was nothing to be done for his pain. A defiant Egoscue took to the exploration of movement to heal his injury. He then began to train others.

While his methods enjoy tremendous popularity, his claims are not backed by clinical trial evidence and are unconventional. Egoscue had undergraduate training in athletics, along with a degree in Political Science.

Although Mr. Egoscue states otherwise, it is best to get checked by your doctor before starting this or any exercise program to address chronic pain.

What is the Egoscue Method?

The Egosuce method is a series of exercises that restores the body's natural motion capabilities. Pete Egoscue calls this "design motion". He describes design motion in detail in his book and accompanies it with an illustration. What follows in the book -- his philosophy and the exercises -- is based on design motion. The emphasis of the exercises (Egoscue calls them E-cises) is on restoring design motion, so you can be free from chronic pain.

I read the book and tried the exercises via their DVD. (The book also describes the exercises.) The book gives background on how and why this system of exercise works, and is very a interesting read. If you do not have an understanding of posture or anatomy, some of the material in the book might be challenging. But it is certainly worth it to try to get through the explanations, as they offer a profound yet simple approach to getting out of pain. The good news is that Egoscue's writer Roger Gittines has conveyed much of the information about common conditions using patient stories, and those parts of the book are very engaging. Along with the use of illustrations, there are also boxes on almost every page with easy-to-understand descriptions of common issues associated with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Does the Egoscue Method Work?

Our rating system here at About does not allow enough stars for Egoscue's program! It didn't take long before I found the E-cises effectively relieving pain that was caused by imbalances in my musculoskeletal system. Egoscue maintains that all chronic pain is due to such imbalances, and the most effective way to address chronic pain is to start with muscles.

One important note, when you do the exercises, pay attention to the details that come with the instructions, for example, keeping your foot straight, i.e. not turned outward, when lifting your leg. These nuances are what makes the system of E-cises effective at relieving pain.

The Book - PainFree

The book goes through the entire body from feet to head, with one chapter per area, and discusses common problems found there. For example, in Chapter 8, which is about the back, there is a section on herniated disks, in Chapter 7, on the hips, one on arthritis. Egoscue simplifies the origin and nature of these problems and shows how they are the product of "improvising" muscles of an imbalanced body in motion. Egoscue gives a short (3-5 exercises) program to address to each condition. An added perk is the list of questions to ask your surgeon before you agree to have surgery for a herniated disk. You may be surprised at the expectations he thinks you should have of your surgeon!

There is also a chapter for athletes in which Egoscue gives exercise programs relevant to quite a few different sports, from soccer to walking and running to golf and more. The final chapter is about maintaining freedom from pain once you have achieved it. In this chapter, Egoscue offers some interesting suggestions, such as keeping a motion diary in your daily life to track patterns and decide which E-cises exercises will help you stay painfree.

The DVDs - Egoscue PainFree Workout Series

The Egoscue PainFree Work Series comes in beginner and advanced versions. The DVDs offer a general program that takes about 45 minutes to complete, and can get you started with an overall approach to the method. The Egoscue recommendation is to take the exercises together as a unit, rather than cherry-picking through them, and to do your program once each day "no excuses". The reason for this relates to how, as a sedentary culture, most of us have lost our design motion. Therefore, a daily program of E-cises works to reverse this and restore design motion.

The DVDs offer a few different ways to view the exercises. After completing the "Functional Tests", I recommend you start with the "Complete Workout" until you are sure of the how the E-cises go. There is an option for exercises with music, and in the advanced version, with explanations for professionals. Again, unless you have a background in anatomy and/or postural education, you may become confused with these explanations. The beginner DVD has a "lighter" version of the explanations inherent in the way the instructions are given, and technical terminology used here, as well. However, if you listen to the instructions repeatedly, as you might if you do the E-cises everyday, some of the explanations may begin to make sense. The explanations are another great way to understand how the method works to reverse chronic pain.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
, Member ldchian

i have always had chronic low back pain but last fall i was in a real mess. my right hip, thigh and shin were so painful i really thought i would end up in a wheel chair. spasms were practically throwing me out of my recliner. (which is about the only way i would leave it.) i was seeing the chiropractor weekly and popping the narcotics my doctors gave me like candy. on the second day of doing the back exercises form this book i quit the drugs. i haven't been to the chiropractor in three months. though i still have some inflammation i can function way better than before. i recommend this book to everyone.

31 out of 31 people found this helpful.

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