Oh, My Aching Back!

book- Pain Free

Which ones of you have aching backs, limping legs, searing shoulders?

Since junior high, I have rarely been without pain in one major joint or another and I have always believed it was just my lot in life.  Now I’m beginning to wonder whether or not that is true!

Three weeks ago I limped/lurched/stumbled into my Creative Arts Society meeting.  My friend looked at me and said, “I thought I told you to get Pain Free?!?!?”  A little light bulb went on in my head and I remembered that he had, indeed, told me about Pete Egoscue’s book months before.  I had been considering so  many possibilities for how to get rid of the 9-months-old pain in my hip that I had let John’s little piece of advice slip by.  MISTAKE!

The next morning I purchased the book.  That night I had time to read the first three chapters on how our muscles, skeletons, and nerves work together.  I then skipped over to the chapter on ‘hips’, my problem-of-the-moment.

After reading Mr. Egoscue’s version of how our hips go awry, I proceeded to the four ‘exercises’ to make my pain leave.  To call them exercises is misleading; they are more like ‘holds’ than exercises, and indeed, he calls them e-cises (‘e’ after his own name, of course).  You get in a position, usually squeezing one set of muscles or another, and you hold it, letting gravity do its job.

Egoscue’s version of events is that our bodies are born balanced right-to-left and front-to-back, and when they deviate from this, it causes either pain or stiffness and limited motion, further limiting our motion.  Motion is what makes all our muscles work in their proper ways.

His e-cises are meant to bring the body back into balance in order to cause the muscles that are supposed to be doing a particular job to DO it, and not rely on peripheral muscles which are not intended for that job.

All I know is, the next morning after my first e-cise session I was bounding up and down the stairs and I had recovered most of the hip motion that had been missing for 9 months. I have continued to do the e-cises faithfully, and my range of motion is still  good.  All the pain has not left yet, but my friend John assured me that it took 3 months in his case for all the pain to go away.

I don’t know about you, but I use all my joints to do my job.  Sometimes, leaning over while working on a large mosaic becomes excruciating.  Now I know what to do about that problem!

As an added bonus, after reading Pain Free, and realizing how many muscles I DON’T use during ordinary exercise, I have started doing very odd things around the house, keeping my cats on their toes, and exercising their brains and their muscles, too!

I crab-walk from the living room into the kitchen, or I do plies in front of the computer.  I walk backwards up the stairs.  In fact, this is yet another way to put a little creativity into my life.


"blur" photo of legs


Another “blur” photo by Lynn Bridge

Forget for a moment that I named this “Legs” and just look at it as an abstract design.  I love abstracting everyday moments to see what is revealed!