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When Your Partner's a Pain

February 9, 2006 By:
Rita Charleston- JE Feature
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This Valentine's Day, in addition to purchasing boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers, how about giving your loved one a book designed to bring about a lifetime of health?

The newly released Back Together: Hands-On Healing for Couples, by Andrew S. Kirschner, D.O., is a partner-based approach to wellness that provides individuals simple-to-use tools to end their loved ones suffering from headaches, neck stiffness, shoulder and lower-neck pain, upper-back discomfort and more.

According to statistics, an estimated 30 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time, and as many as 80 percent of Americans suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. Many expect to live like that the rest of their lives, but Kirchner insists they don't have to.

Kirschner is the founder and medical director of "Back Together," a physical-healing system he devised to teach safe, non-invasive pain-relieving techniques to patients. His book is a natural outgrowth of the work he's been doing for years.

Kirschner earned his doctorate in osteopathy from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, explaining that he had started teaching some basic soft-tissue techniques back when he was a student, which has continued through his own practice: "A patient would come to see me and had someone with them who was in pain. At that point, I decided to give the partner some simple techniques to help alleviate their loved one's back or neck pain."

The book, explained Kirschner, "was actually inspired by my wife Donna's pregnancy five years ago and the birth of our daughter."

By applying basic maneuvers to his wife's spine, Kirschner said he was able to "significantly relieve a great amount of her discomfort, leading to a more comfortable, medication-free delivery.

"When I used the same techniques I had been using for years on my wife, who is a child-birth instructor, she liked them so much she asked if I could teach them to her classes. That's when a formal program came about."

It Takes Two! 
Experiencing back pain can be debilitating, but having to witness a loved one suffering from it can be torture as well.

And what often starts as compassion for the sufferer can easily turn to frustration and resentment - especially when, as a couple, you're unable to carry on the type of activities you once enjoyed together.

"It's hard to be the person who has pain every single day. But we tend to forget about just how hard it is for those who love and live with those suffering because their lives are compromised in really serious ways, too," noted the author. "The nonsuffering partner is also missing out on things, like help with housework, shopping, companionship. Even sexual intimacy gets compromised.

"Eventually, the partner can get resentful because of all the burdens placed upon them."

In addition to pain-relief tips, readers will learn how to better control home and workplace variables to live more comfortable lives - like where to position your computer equipment in relation to your body, how to hold your phone and the right way to pick up your child.

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