Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Egoscue Method - help for tennis injuries: back issues, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and more

It was last year sometime while visiting with family out west that I heard about a book and an exercise method that helped golfers like Jack Nicklaus with pain relief. I made note of it but, since up until that point I’d experienced very few sports related injuries and (except for some arthritis in my big toe) have been relatively pain free for most of my life, I didn’t rush out to buy the book despite the glowing review I heard.

However, after problems with tennis elbow last fall, when I found myself in a bookstore a couple of weeks ago, I decided to seek out the aforementioned book. Initially I couldn’t find it but, with help from the information desk person, I was able to locate the follow-on book by the same author, Pete Egoscue.

Egoscue, an anatomical physiologist since 1978, has devised a method comprised of exercise therapies for treating chronic musculoskeletal pain attributed to workplace and sports injuries, accidents, aging, and other conditions, and has been consulted by some of the biggest names in sports.

I leafed through Egoscue’s book Pain Free – A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain, which describes how our bodies were designed for motion and that, because of the way our culture has evolved, sitting at a computer all day is not very good for our musculoskeletal health long term because we aren’t adequately using our muscles or stretching our tendons, to keep our complex body systems in optimal operation. It further details how a symptom (e.g. pain) in one area of our body may actually be caused by an entirely different, seemingly unrelated problem elsewhere.

Not really having any pain anywhere at the time I bought the book, I put it down and decided that I’d at least begin his regular “maintenance” exercises soon, perhaps at the end of the winter tennis season. However, about 10 days ago, while losing a match I should have been winning, I decided to put a little extra on a serve and – “ouch” – suddenly I’d pulled something in my back. Later that day and especially the next morning, I could hardly walk … I was definitely in pain! So, I picked up Pain Free and turned to the chapter on “Backs”.

With an important semi-final playoff match in 6 days, I quickly incorporated the 5 first step exercises into my daily routine. The result was/is amazing. Not only did the pain start to dissipate (the very first day), but I was able to play (and win) my match last Saturday. Of course I also needed and took Advil, just to be sure, but I too now highly recommend the Egoscue Method, and have even bought several copies to give to friends I know that experience some of the common tennis related physical challenges.

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