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Pain Free For Life: The 6-Week Cure for Chronic PainóWithout Surgery or Drugs    by Scott Brady & William Proctor Amazon.com order for
Pain Free For Life
by Scott Brady
Order:  USA  Can
Center Street, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Scott Brady, MD extended the holistic, non-invasive method of chronic pain treatment into his Autonomic Overload Syndrome (AOS) analysis, founding The Brady Institute for Health, located at Florida Hospital, in 1998. Dr. Brady suffered from chronic pain, was told that he had the back of on eighty-plus year old, and that he would have to live with it. Pain Free For Life targets the audience that will respond affirmatively to specific questions, including: 'Do you suffer from chronic back pain, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or fibromyalgia?'; 'Are you sick of treatments and pills that don't give you lasting relief?'; and 'Do you feel that pain prevents you from living a normal life?'

Using the 'mind-body-spirit approach', Dr. Brady chronicles his own search, being treated by many, varied medical establishments, then finding a recovery plan, which he carried into his own practice. A meeting with Dr. John E. Sarno - physician and professor emeritus in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Medical Center - led Dr. Brady on the road to recovery. Dr. Sarno coined the term Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), which relates to 'a group of painful conditions.' TMS is interesting in its application in that it refers to 'the repression (or burying in the unconscious mind) of destructive emotions, especially anger and unconscious rage'.

Brady's AOS 'is a group of chronic pains and other symptoms caused by harmful levels of stress, pressure, and repressed strong negative emotions that have built up on the subconscious mind.' Each of his patients is provided with an individualized version of a 6-week Pain-Free for Life Program. From a research project of fifty-five AOS-diagnosed patients, conducted at the Brady Institute, we are told that 'more than 80 percent experienced 80 to 100 percent recovery within four to six weeks'. Brady is convinced that 'traditional body medicine' (focusing on only the physical with no regard for 'psychological or spiritual factors') is 'too narrowly focused to help cure millions of patients who suffer with seemingly incurable pain'.

Pain Free For Life is formatted in two parts: Understanding Your Pain, and The Pain-Free For Life Program. Topics covered include: a history and progression of medical theories and treatments including the practice of holistic, and conventional methods (from ancient times through to the present); testimonials from patients who entered the program; definition of the pains and related symptoms stemming from AOS; discussion of how AOS works inside the body (physiology); focus on lower and upper back pain, sciatic nerve pain, migraine and tension headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and more.

Covering The Harvard Tradition, the authors trace the roots of the 'contemporary mind-body-spirit movement - and its use in treating pain' to research at Harvard Medical School. Recognition is given to Oliver Wendell Holmes, a mid-nineteenth century professor of anatomy and physiology. Physician-psychologist-philosopher William James furthered Holmes's contributions in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience. Interest in the topic was continued by one of the latter's students, Walter Cannon, who became the 'leading professor of physiology at Harvard in the first half of the twentieth century', then by Cannon's medical students - A. Clifford Barger, an expert in cardiovascular disorders, and Herbert Benson, a cardiologist and pioneer of mind-body medicine.

Though there was some unnecessary repetition in the first half of the book, I found the explanations generally very accessible to laypersons. In my opinion, will you be rid of chronic pain after reading this book? No. But it will provide a deeper understanding of body-mind-spiritual treatment methods. Dr. Brady and William Proctor clarify in the Preface, 'The syndrome and treatment plan descriptions in this book are not intended to serve as substitutes for conventional treatments for such conditions as cancer ... vascular malformations, cauda equina syndrome, or other dangerous structural problems or diseases'. The authors closing message is: 'To those who are in Pain. / To those who have followed all the 'right' medical paths - / but still continue to suffer. / To those who have lost hope / because 'life' has been replaced with Pain. / I was there ... and now I'm Pain-Free. / Take courage; / there is HOPE!' To this I say a hardy, Amen.

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