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Healing Tool Series: Book Review: Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain

Cover of Dr Christo's book "Aches and Gains"

A book for people with chronic pain: Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain

“Healing Tools” summaries are a collection of evidence-based resources to help providers and patients use integrative health approaches to improve health and wellbeing.

This book is for:

  • Patients and their family members (main audience)
  • Providers

This tool was created by:

  • Paul J. Christo, MD, MBA, a physician at Johns Hopkins and a leading pain specialist



What is this tool for?

More than 100 million adults have chronic pain.[i]  When patients understand their pain and treatment options, they can work with their providers to overcome it and live fully.

Understanding Pain and its Integrative Treatments

Aches and Pains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain offers conventional, alternative and integrative ways to ease pain.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • Part I: Understanding and Treating Your Pain
  • Part II: Medical Therapies for Pain: Traditional and Innovative
  • Part III: Integrative Therapies for Pain

Part I has chapters on various types of pain, including:

  • Headache
  • Joint and soft tissue
  • Arthritis
  • Neuropathic (related to nerves that are injured or aren’t working right)
  • Postsurgical
  • Disease-related
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune

Integrative Therapies for Pain

Integrative therapies for pain covered are:

  • Weight Control, Exercise and Diet
  • Sleep, Stress, and Emotional Health
  • Mind-body Techniques for Pain Relief
  • Alternative Medicine and Pain Relief
  • Aromas, Music and Pain Relief
  • Harnessing the Human Biofield
  • Pain Relief through Movement

Stories About How Patients Overcame Pain

In the foreword, Montel Williams writes about the hopelessness that often overtakes people with chronic pain, in his case from multiple sclerosis. Williams found hope and pain relief by taking his health into his own hands, as Dr. Christo suggests in the book. Williams changed his diet and exercise routine, used a variety of treatments and looked for experimental therapies that could help him.

Each chapter (after the introduction) has patient stories featuring celebrities and ordinary people. These stories show how each patient found a way to overcome pain.

How does this contribute to an integrative approach?

Combining conventional medicine, self-care, and complementary and alternative medicine can help patients achieve optimal healing and wellbeing. This book helps people with chronic pain actively participate in their own care, working with their providers to find and use the best conventional and integrative treatments.

What does the evidence say about this tool?

Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain is based on evidence from research results and Dr. Christo’s expertise as a pain specialist.

Dr. Christo has treated many patients with chronic pain at the Johns Hopkins Blaustein Pain Treatment Center and conducted research on pain that has been published in peer-reviewed journals. He has published more than 100 articles and book chapters related to pain. Dr. Christo has also served on advisory committees for national pain organizations, and chaired and led pain medicine conferences for pain specialists and primary care physicians.

What are the drawbacks to using this tool?


This book is not a substitute for conventional medical care. Work with your healthcare provider to control and eliminate your pain. The book is comprehensive and sometimes even overwhelming.

Who created this tool?

Dr. Christo is a board-certified pain specialist and anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins, and an Associate Professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

U.S. News & World Report lists Dr. Christo as a Top Doctor for pain management. Dr. Christo hosts an award-winning, nationally syndicated SIRIUS XM radio talk show on overcoming pain, called Aches and Gains®. The American Society of Pain Educators named him the 2016 Pain Educator of the Year for his work educating the public about pain.


[i] Institute of Medicine. Relieving Pain in America, A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research. The National Academies Press, 2011.



At Healing Works Foundation, we believe that achieving optimal health and wellbeing requires an integrative health approach—one that combines and coordinates conventional medicine, self-care, and complementary and alternative medicine.

Translating Evidence into Action

The goal of these summaries is to help providers and patients learn about and access evidence-based integrative health tools.


Healing Works Foundation is a nonprofit organization and does not profit from any of the tools featured in these summaries.

Patients: Contact your provider before starting any new health program.  Show him/her these resources.

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