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Heal Your Aching Back

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Heal Your Aching Back


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Everything you need to know about back problems and how to deal with the pain.

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Chances are excellent that someone close to you suffers back pain. Few people manage to avoid completely the pain of wrenched, twisted, strained or pulled back muscles. Most of the time, back injuries are minor and the pain eventually dissipates. But millions of people suffer relentless, agonizing back pain that prevents them from living normal lives. They go from specialist to specialist, frustrated by different diagnoses and unable to escape the pain. Back in 1984, Harvard University's Dr. Jeffrey Katz realized through his own experiences with back pain that the medical profession knew little about how to treat it. He decided to specialize in musculoskeletal problems and to dedicate his career to helping those who suffer back pain. Katz has done all the heavy lifting for his readers. His book is easy to understand and helpful, with clear illustrations and charts. getAbstract highly recommends it to those who already suffer from back pain and want a head start at the doctor’s office.


Back to Basics

The medical profession has been slow in recognizing and treating back pain, particularly considering that it is, by far, the number one chronic disease – at least among Americans. Medical science has conducted extensive back pain research only in the past 20 years or so. Part of the dilemma is that any number of conditions can cause back pain, including sprains, nerve damage, disease or trauma. Frequently, precisely diagnosing the cause of a back problem is practically impossible. The good news is that most back-pain sufferers who remain active eventually will find relief and regain a normal lifestyle. The bad news is that many people suffer from chronic, debilitating pain that doctors can address only with therapy, medication, injections and surgery.

Your back is a complicated, amazing instrument consisting of vertebrae, disks, processes, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Your back protects your spinal cord, and allows you to dance, play basketball, plant vegetables, ski and scoop up your toddler. The spine is divided into five regions: the cervical spine (top seven vertebrae), thoracic spine (middle 12 vertebrae), lumbar spine (lowest five mobile...

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, deputy editor of the journal Spine, is an associate professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, co-director of the Brigham Spine Center, and director of the Orthopaedic and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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