Overcome Neck & Back Pain, 4th edition by Kit Laughlin

The book that started a revolution in treating neck, middle and lower back problems—and a method that explicitly recognises the necessity of the patient being actively involved in the treatment.

  • Step-by-step self diagnosis
  • Stretching: the hows and whys
  • Pain-relieving exercises for the hips and lower back
  • Partner-assisted exercises
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Much more (see below)

What you will learn...

Overcome Neck & Back Pain, the book

Who should read it?

The book Overcome Neck & Back Pain, now in its 4th edition, presents a comprehensive self-help exercise-based approach to treating these problems.

This is the book that started a revolution in treating neck, middle and lower back problems—and a method that explicitly recognises the necessity of the patient being actively involved in the treatment. The book has been glowingly reviewed in all the peak medical journals as well as massage, shiatsu, chiropractic and complementary medical journals.

The book was featured in three separate stories on A Current Affair, and this very favourable exposure led to the creation of the national Overcome Neck & Back Pain workshops.

The Overcome Neck & Back Pain system is used successfully by many practitioners around the country, including doctors, chiropractors and osteopaths, massage and other body work therapists: you will see one of our Certificates of Attendance on the wall of their clinics if they have done one of our intensive workshops.

How the book is set out

Chapter one takes you through the self-diagnosis step by step. There is a flow chart of the diagnosis method at the end of the chapter, and a self-assessment page to photocopy.

Chapter two discusses stretching: the hows and whys of the main recommendations of Overcome Neck & Back Pain. The three neural reflexes we use to improve flexibility and decrease pain are discussed, and those aspects of the Stretch Therapy approach that distinguish it from other methods for achieving greater flexibility are considered.

Chapter three contains the basic pain-relieving exercises for the hips and lower back. These are the most important exercises in the book, and for most people a selection of these are the only ones they need to do on a regular basis (two or three times a week once you are well).

Chapter four introduces the first ‘partner-assisted’ exercises. A friend can help, or a practitioner familiar with body work. These are similar to the exercises we teach in our practitioner workshops around the world. Generally, these are stronger movements that rely on the support or strength of an assistant, or the use of props, or both.

Chapter five shows the middle back exercises. If you have neck problems and have chosen not to do the tests described in chapter one, it would be a good idea to do all the middle back exercises in this chapter as a ‘warm-up’ for the neck region. You could add the shoulder exercises of chapter six to that mix, too, at a later time.

Chapter six presents the neck exercises. All can be done on a chair and are recommended for office workers and computer users. The links between neck tension and RSI (OOS) are discussed.

Chapter seven shows stronger additional exercises, if you find that the earlier ones leave you wanting a deeper stretch, or you are generally a more flexible person. These exercises are designed to improve and balance your existing flexibility, and to allow you to focus more closely on your problem areas with stronger techniques. There are solo and partner versions of most exercises.

Chapter eight takes you through the shoulder exercises; some of these stretch muscles and other soft tissue in the arms, too. Shoulder stability is discussed, and we look at the rotator cuff muscles in some detail.

Chapter nine outlines the strengthening exercises which, together with the stronger stretching exercises, will afford a measure of protection for the future. The exercises are graded, from a minimal set suitable for doing at home through to more elaborate exercises for which some equipment (like a bench or a Swiss Ball) is needed.

Chapter ten takes you through the reasons for including relaxation techniques as part of the larger approach to overcoming your problems. It briefly discusses practical stress management, outlines the current understanding of stress and its effects on the body, and ends with a script for an easy-to-learn method for relaxation. Useful guided visualisation techniques for speeding up the healing process are included in the script. If you wish, you can use one of the CDs that I have recorded specifically for this purpose or you may record the script yourself.

Chapter eleven discusses the various causes of neck and back pain from a number of perspectives beginning with western medicine, because of its detailed understanding of anatomy. Not only is this knowledge fundamental to the Overcome Neck & Back Pain approach, this understanding is shared by most other forms of medicine around the world and thereby gives a level of understanding where these different systems might be evaluated and compared. The experiences of the workshops we have been running for individuals and practitioners are presented, and consideration is given to choice of beds and pillows.

The book ends with the Acknowledgements section, a Reference List and an annotated Further Reading List, and two Indexes which I hope will assist you in finding what you need in this book.

The book has many hundreds of large clear photographs, showing precisely how to do the important exercises, many all-new anatomy illustrations, and simple effective descriptions too.

A long time ago when I joined the Army I quickly developed pains in my lower back. Hauling packs, logs, truck tyres etc up and down the hills behind Duntroon is apparently not that conducive to a healthy back. I bought your book, and through a steady routine of stretching and strengthening I have never had similar pain since.

I still regularly do the stretches you advocate, and have given your book to friends and family with back complaints, repeatedly leaving myself without a copy.

Recently I tweaked my neck and was left with pains in my forearm. I bought yet another copy of your book, this time the revised version. The chart in the front of the book showing the stretches for tightness and pains in specific parts of the body immediately showed me where the problem could be and what might help. I’m happy to report that after just one week the stiffness in my forearm has decreased dramatically and I will hopefully have full use of it back shortly.

I also have inflammatory arthritis in both knees that I have often thought is connected to a tightness in my calves that I just could not seem to release no matter what I did. The abovementioned chart has also shown me a new stretch that exactly hits that muscle. It is early days, but my legs are feeling better than they have in many years.

Thank you for your work. It has proven to be of great benefit to me. I wish you all the best.

Nick Pannel – Australia