How to Beat Pain by Christine Craggs-Hinton. (Paperback RRP £7.99) Now this is quite a neat little book from a series of “Overcoming Common Problems” by Sheldon Press. The author suffers from fibromyalgia herself and has taken up writing for therapeutic reasons. She has written 5 other books, dealing with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, polycystic ovary syndrome and gout; she also writes for the Fibromyalgia Association UK and FaMily magazine.
First of all, it is quite a short book (some 103 pages long) and is UK based. The author writes from her own point of view and experiences and the vocabulary is clear and concise without drowning the reader in medical/facts/terminology (although they are obviously used).
There is a very informative section on “trigger therapy” (massaging trigger points that cause pain) about which the author is very passionate, and it is this, plus the section on the Alexander Technique, which makes up the bulk of the book. Tips include dealing with everyday situations, like sitting at a desk, picking something up from the floor and even getting a casserole out of the oven! All extremely useful, but more for someone who has recently been diagnosed with chronic pain – I feel that any long term sufferers would already know most of this stuff.
The smaller sections on exercise have easy to understand instructions and accompanying line drawings (although most of those shown are ones readily suggested by NHS physiotherapy departments). The advice on nutrition is often common sense (cut out snacks, eat wholemeal foods etc) and would probably benefit anyone (allergies aside of course) whether they suffered from Chronic Pain or not. I haven’t followed the sample diet, so I can’t comment on whether or not it is successful.
Finally, the author touches on Complementary Therapy. These are only “thumbnail” pointers really (a couple of paragraphs each) and again, are more of an introduction to what is out there should you wish to investigate further. There is also is a list of useful addresses; mostly in the UK, but 6 are based in the USA, and include organisations such as The British Pain Society and the American Pain Society.
On the whole I found this book an excellent introduction to the issue of chronic pain – not too overwhelming, well written, user friendly and full of useful tips. However, I feel it is just that – an introduction - if you are looking for something more advanced/in depth then it may not be quite for you. Will it fulfil the promise of the title? Well, each case is unique and the author herself admits that there is no quick fix, but you are left with the feeling it should certainly go towards helping you get some relief.