We are excited to bring you another thrilling book review as part of our Flowly Book Review Series! This week, we invite you to join us on an exploration of The Way Out, as Christine, a valued member of the Flowly team, takes us on a journey through its pages.
What’s it about?
The Way Out by Alan Gordon, LCSW, presents a comprehensive and compassionate guide to understanding and overcoming chronic pain. Drawing from his expertise as a psychotherapist and founder of the Pain Psychology Center, Gordon introduces readers to the concept of neuroplastic pain and explores the mind-body connection in relation to pain. Through personal anecdotes, case studies, and evidence-based strategies, he provides readers with practical tools to address the underlying emotional and psychological factors contributing to their pain. By incorporating techniques such as somatic tracking, Gordon empowers readers to break free from the cycle of chronic pain and reclaim their lives, offering hope and a roadmap to lasting relief.
Why did you choose to read The Way Out?
The Flowly team highly recommends The Way Out, and a lot of what we believe and educate people about pain is based on the studies done by the author.
What are the main takeaways?
1. Not all pain has a structural cause. Our brain does a great job of protecting ourselves, and sometimes it manifests as pain. (Learn more about structural vs non-structural pain here.)
2. Fear is a strong emotion and it's a big driver for pain. Fear is triggered by (1) worry (2) pressure and (3) self-criticism.
3. Chronic Pain is never "healed" but you can always resume control over it.
An example of pain without (or no longer having) a structural cause is, Chronic Whiplash Syndrome… it doesn't exist in cultures that don't believe in it. I haven't gotten into a car accident (knock on wood), but this is good to keep in mind for the future. Chronic Whiplash Syndrome is the persisting headache and neck pain months after an incident that causes whiplash to happen. People usually report this after a massive car accident that causes them to seek physical therapy and medical advice months after the structural damage caused by the car accident has been addressed.
In The Way Out, Gordon talks about how Chronic Whiplash Syndrome is non-existent in Lithuania, even though rear-end collisions occur just as frequently there as in the rest of the world. A study conducted in Lithuania revealed that the country doesn't have a "whiplash culture," and Lithuanians don't believe in whiplash. Because of the lack of awareness of Chronic Whiplash Syndrome and Lithuanians' belief that whiplash symptoms are structural only, the country itself has no Chronic Whiplash Syndrome that persists. (This unique case is also covered in the New York Times.)
How did The Way Out affect you?
This book reinforced the education and the studies that go into what we build and do at Flowly.
Who should read The Way Out?
Flowly heroes should read The Way Out. The Way Out is a great read to understand the science behind non-structural pain. Specifically, I think our Flowly community would enjoy the chapter on relapses and recovery because it's a great reminder that chronic pain can come back but it doesn't have to control your life again. Gordon goes through the 3 stages of chronic pain relapses and I think it'll be extremely helpful to our Flowly heroes (especially ones who've been using us for a really long time) to read that chapter before a stressful event re-triggers a flare-up!
Have a book you would like to review and share with the Flowly community? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.