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Book review

Holistic Pain Relief: Dr. Tick’s Breakthrough Strategies to Manage and Eliminate Pain


Pain is a complex condition that affects everyone differently. Thankfully, we can turn to holistic and integrative modalities for pain relief or management.

Holistic Pain Relief:Dr. Tick’s Breakthrough Strategies to Manage and Eliminate Pain
By Heather Tick, MD
New World Library, 2013, 312 pages, $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-60868-206-5

Pain is a complex condition; we all experience it differently, and we can all sympathize with others when they’re affected by it. It’s a sensitive topic that is hard to qualify and measure, and—despite being a universal occurrence—it can, as I discovered, be hard to talk about.

When I accompanied a dear friend to the cancer clinic recently to meet with her “pain specialist,” I had anticipated a healthy dialogue around questions we’d prepared regarding complementary approaches for my friend’s pain issues.

I expected perhaps not endorsement or outright approval, but at least some marginal acknowledgement of alternative adjuncts. At best, I hoped for recommendations of whom to consult with next. I was disarmed by the blank stares and stonewall silences that met our questions.

The next appointment with a pain specialist will be different because I’ve since had the benefit of reading Heather Tick’s Holistic Pain Relief.

My own experience suggests that if you or a loved one suffers, time may seem in short supply, and pain may be accompanied by irritability and frustration. In painful times, there might be less patience than usual and less tolerance for relief that comes slowly. Thankfully, Dr. Tick’s book comes to the rescue with a format that reads easily and with strategies that are ready to implement and practise immediately.

Heather Tick is an integrative medical practitioner who runs pain clinics internationally. With more than 25 years of experience in treating patients, she draws on her vast clinical experience to write a well-rounded book that offers something for chronic pain sufferers across many dimensions.

With the underlying reminder that “we alter our body chemistry each time we eat,” Dr. Tick gives science-based tips for dietary habits to manage and reduce pain. She offers clear and simple explanations for specific supplements and exercises (mental and physical).

There are measurable indications, for example, of how a low-glycemic diet helps eliminate pain and of how vitamin D plays a key role in pain management. If you are taking medications now, you’ll also want to read the notes about drugs that can cause more pain.

The book draws from real-life patient stories to maintain an easy flow, and there are helpful sidebars and endnotes to further enhance the reading experience. A final chapter, “The Road to Recovery,” suggests helpful questions for patients to ask doctors and provides a to-do list for how to get started with pain-reducing lifestyle changes. Highly recommended.

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