Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buying "Saving My Knees": the Value Proposition

It’s been a year since Saving My Knees became available on Sales have exceeded my expectations. I’ve gotten a great, heartening response from readers. Life is good.

Yet ...

There’s a criticism of the book that I’ve heard a few times that goes like this:

This book is overpriced. The message can be boiled down to “move a lot and listen to your knees.” And who knows if you can get better doing what the author did anyway? Every knee problem is different. Don’t waste your money.

So I thought I’d try something different this week, on the book’s (more or less) one-year anniversary. I thought I’d give you the “value proposition,” if you will, for shelling out $9.99 for an electronic book that you can’t even resell at Sam’s Secondhand Bookstore.

Because Saving My Knees contains information that I would’ve paid $100 for when I had knee pain and was thrashing about, frightened and helpless, trying to figure out why healing was so difficult.

Yes, it’s my story, but I think many people suffer from basically what I did. True, they may be a little worse or better than I was, may have cartilage flaws in different places that throw off different symptoms, may be sedentary instead of weekend athletes.

But I don’t think those differences matter so much, because what I advocate isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to knee pain. Rather, it’s an approach or framework that can be tailored to someone’s specific needs, with a little imagination.

But ah, I’m starting to wander! So without further digression, here are a baker’s dozen of reasons (as opposed to a banker’s dozen ;)) for buying Saving My Knees.

1. You’ll find a dynamic explanation of how cartilage works inside a knee joint, in a way that I’ve never read before. It’s not the dry textbook “this is this and this is the other and blah blah blah.” It’s as detailed as it needs to be (if you’re going to understand medical studies that reference glycosaminoglycans, you need to know what they are), while not bogging down in pointless details. I tried to write the science so it doesn’t read like science.

2. You’ll read about my one-year scientific experiment into saving a pair of knees -- that worked. I didn’t get lucky. And I was carefully tracking variables throughout this whole time, so this is a high-quality study. Now, what about the fact that I’m a one-man sample size? I’d argue that that may not be exactly the case, as the Sports Center clinic in Austin has helped many knee pain sufferers, and its approach appears to be similar to mine (no surprise there -- the writings of its founder greatly inspired me!).

3. You’ll find out about the weaknesses inherent in certain knee studies. You may have heard of a famous study that claimed, “Exercise doesn’t improve bad knees.” That may have discouraged you from an exercise program. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how such a study can be flawed in serious ways. This will help you analyze the worth of similar studies yourself.

4. You’ll read about hard evidence that cartilage can heal! I’ve NEVER read about these clinical studies in any book about healing knees (if a reader knows otherwise, please point out the book and I’ll give due credit). Once cartilage can heal, that changes the whole ballgame. That makes what I did not only possible, but the most sensible approach!

5. You’ll discover why glucosamine most likely doesn’t work, and so can save money on pills that won’t rebuild your cartilage after all. How much is that worth? According to the online CVS site, a two-month supply of glucosamine is $8.99. So the book pays for itself in less than three months. ;)

6. You’ll see how to play medical detective. This is a great skill to have. The human body is a tremendously complex machine. You want to be able to help figure out what’s wrong with you, and what makes it worse, and what makes it better -- whether it’s knee pain or some other ailment. This is a very useful skill that I draw upon today.

7. You’ll learn about how to keep a knee journal. This is a super way to navigate a long-term recovery. You can’t just bump along, week to week, hoping you’ll get better. You need to be aggressive about taking matters into your own hands. The knee journal helps you figure out what’s working and what isn’t -- and helps you transition to successively harder stages of your recovery program.

8. You’ll get access to a valuable bibliography that lists a wide-ranging sampling of technical books and articles I used. If you like doing your own research, dig right in. There are a lot of sources here, enough to keep you busy for weeks.

9. You’ll meet Doug Kelsey (if you haven’t already at his Web site), who was a terrific inspiration to me. Doug has refreshingly original insights into knee pain and believes you can escape it if you follow the right plan (and are patient). If you’re serious about healing, you definitely need to know what he says about nagging knee pain.

10. You’ll get a reasoned debunking of some of the common myths for treating knee pain: that your focus should be on strengthening your quadriceps, that your problems are caused by a mistracking patella, that stretching your iliotibial band is important.

11. You’ll get, as an added bonus, an example of how to heal a stubborn case of tendinitis (thanks again to Doug Kelsey). I healed bad tendons in my forearms that I thought would end up sending me into surgery.

12. You’ll find out why “just listen to your knees” and “move a lot” aren’t really the solutions to beating knee pain -- at least not as you properly understand both to mean right now. I moved a lot and my knees got worse. I listened to my knees and they got worse too. Yes, I eventually succeeded by doing both, but in a more sophisticated way, which I explain in the book.

13. You’ll learn about the “delayed symptom effect” with knees. Without understanding how this works, your prospects of figuring out how to heal are rather slim, because “bad knee days” will just seem like random events to you, rather than the logical outcome of something you did.

Of course, now that I’ve done my pitch for the book, a reminder: it’s not for everyone. If you want an other-directed solution (surgery, meds), or a very specific solution handed to you on a plate (“do this many repetitions of this exercise x times a week), please don’t buy Saving My Knees. It will just make you cranky.

And, if you’re interested in the message, but counting your pennies, as I’ve said many times before, the blog’s always free. :)

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