I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

I was very pleased to receive a review copy of Jaime Heidel’s Life Beyond Chronic Pain. Jamie is the author of the popular blog, I Told You I Was Sick.

While I am on a medicine-based treatment plan, there is a great deal of evidence for and I know people who have good success with a more natural-based approach to dealing with RA and other inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.

Life Beyond Chronic Pain is a short, but to-the-point “how-to” of approaching chronic pain from a holistic standpoint. Starting with some personal information about the author, it is then broken into four major sections that represents the steps of the process: Eliminate, Detoxify, Rebuild and Maintain. (This is one step beyond the standard detoxify approach of cleansing, rebuilding and maintaining.) Each section contains a liberal amount of specific, practical information along with links to research and articles that provide the background and science behind the information.

The advice presented in Life Beyond Chronic Pain is truly a holistic approach. As an example, in the Eliminate section, people are advised not only how to eliminate toxic food but also toxic cooking techniques and to rid themselves of toxic people. Each section delves into advise on healing the mind and soul — as part of helping the whole person.

I’ve explored a number of these types of guides and there are several things I like about this one.

  • First, it’s short and direct with specific information. It doesn’t spend chapters on theory or feel-good filler. It’s designed to give you what you need to address the four steps.
  • The author provides enough personal information that you can relate to her struggles — and her successes with this process.
  • It gives practical information on how to find additional resources, e.g., when searching for yoga videos, include the keywords “for chronic pain” to help you find exactly what you need.
  • It is broad based in that it doesn’t just deal with diet and it doesn’t just deal with eliminating things from your life. It gives you a rounded look at living your life in a way that may help you with your chronic pain.

I have very little negative to say but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few things.

First, if you’ve done research along these lines in the past, you may not find a lot of new information. What’s refreshing about this guide is not necessarily new information, but the way the information is structured and presented in a holistic approach — not just detoxification. It’s succinct, well presented, and easy to understand with practical guidelines.

One thing I did find missing is that even though each section gave clear instructions, there aren’t clear “success” markers to let you know when you were ready to move to the next step.

While the author has apparently had health/pain issues for most or all of her life, very little is said about the investigation into other types of treatment — the guide is very focused on this one process.

Finally, in my opinion, the guide could also do with a bibliography or a list of suggested additional reading rather than just the links and references sprinkled throughout. From a structural standpoint, even though the book is short, my particular copy (which was a review copy and not the one from Amazon) could be helped by a table of contents, links or even page numbers. Several times I wanted to go back and review a section and the only way I could was to just scroll through the guide until I found what I was looking for. This may not be the case in the Amazon Kindle edition.

Overall, if you’re interested in investigating a more holistic overview to relieving your chronic pain, and/or you want the perspective of the patient rather than the medical community, this is a good place to start. The Kindle edition, which is available through Amazon, is $2.99 and is 65 pages long.