7 Steps to a Pain-Free life

How to Rapidly Relieve Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

by Robin McKenzie w/ Craig Kubey

copyright 2000, updated edition; 9th printing
ISBN: 978-0-14-218069-3
Softcover, 246 pages including index and bibliography
Publisher – Penguin Group
Illustrated with black and white photos of the exercises.

(Review by Carolyn B. Leonard)

I read this book because my spine specialist, Dr. Charles Hogan of Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopedics (OSSO), a multi-specialty physician group, asked me to.  Some 85% of the US population suffers from this type of pain at some point in their lives, so by reviewing this book perhaps one of my readers will be helped.

Back, neck and shoulder pain can be grouped in many different ways. Some people have pain only in one area, while others have pain in all three, as I do. There are many back patients suffering with neck or shoulder pain. 

In my case several years ago a fall on black ice meant a shattered shoulder.  I was treated with surgery for the shoulder. The young surgeon placed pins in the shoulder to hold the bones in place for healing, but he failed to crimp the ends of the pins. Three weeks later the pins were loose inside my body and required more surgery to remove them. That shoulder never healed correctly and years later I still suffer pain and can’t use the left arm. 

Five years ago a car accident resulted in a broken pelvis and following that a tibial plateau fracture on the same leg added to the problems. After the car accident and whiplash, a different surgeon tried to repair my broken hip with a plate and screws. That failed and I could not walk through the pain, so a year later another surgeon performed a total hip replacement.  Healing was unusually slow. A year after the replacement, I was overjoyed to be walking again. But then I tripped on a rug on the cement floor of the garage and broke my leg at the knee. The same one with the hip. So I was laid up for another year while the tibial plateau fracture healed. After all this time of limited movement and lack of strength-building exercise, the back problems kicked in along with the continuing neck, and shoulder kinks. 

Like the author of this book, in search of relief I eventually saw about seven doctors: two primary care physicians, two spine specialists, a pain management specialist and two orthopedists. The spine specialist referred me to an orthopedic spec because the left hip was now out of line and causing another problem. 

We tried heat, ice, ultrasound, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, aqua therapy, something called dry needling, even the new cannabis oil along with extra strength Tylenol and various NSAID pain relievers. All these things helped some, but none in any dramatic way. The pain seriously interfered with my work and social life. 

Since you are reading this, pain is probably familiar to you.

I can’t say the McKenzie Method is so successful that you can spend three seconds trying it and be pain-free. I can say that doing the exercises in this book does help. If you do not feel immediate relief, remember what McKenzie will tell you: sometimes relief doesn’t come right away. Sometimes you are no better after a session or two. But stick with the exercises because you will eventually benefit from your patience.