The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain – Alan Gordon and Alon Ziv
Thoughts: My friend Evy recommended The Way Out to me. I was a bit skeptical of the book given its title (which has the ring of an alternative medicine book to my ears), but the ideas and explanations were consistent with those in other, unrelated books I was reading at the time. I’ve experienced persistent forearm/wrist/hand pain over the past several years, which has been basically under control for the past week or two since I began reading the book and started trying (very occasionally) some of the exercises suggested therein. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, I think it’s worth being aware of neuroplastic pain. In summary, for its purposes, a solid book.
Summary: While some pain has a physical cause, other pain is neuroplastic - it’s caused by the brain misinterpreting ambiguous signals coming in from the peripheral nervous system. There are things you can do to train your brain out of habitually misinterpreting these signals.
(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering.)
Gordon, Alan and Alon Ziv. 2021. The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain. Avery.
- 76: Authors draw a distinction between short-term and long-term goals wrt chronic pain - getting rid of your chronic pain through mindfulness/somatic tracking is a great long-term goal, but it is not effective as a short-term goal. Authors suggest somatic tracking itself, in the moment, should be “outcome independent”
- 77: in a “Patient Perspective” box: “I even started being less of a problem solver in other areas of my life. I used to focus all my energy into trying to fix every tiny issue with my relationship or my work… Now I’m kind of like, ‘You know what, let’s just sit with it. It is what it is.’ Not having to fix everything right away is really liberating.” i.e. there’s value in simply observing.
Posted: Mar 28, 2023. Last updated: Aug 31, 2023.