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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark R Hutchinson, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This paperback is a wonderful patient education tool on the prevention, minimization, and resolution of back and neck pain. At $20, it is cost-efficient and provides an in-depth approach for patients to better understand their back and neck pain, the treatments and exams, as well as ways to exercise or self-treat their symptoms.
Purpose: It is clear that this book targets patients, but not patients who are just given an exercise program, rather patients who want to better understand and be actively involved in reducing and treating their pain. With this approach, the authors provide more depth for patients than the usual patient handouts and educational materials.
Audience: Patients suffering from back or neck pain are the intended audience, but I believe a secondary audience is clinicians who treat these patients. I could see clinicians purchasing copies to make them available to their patients at cost. The diverse authors (a neurologist, a physical therapist, and a world-renowned spine surgeon) provide an open-minded approach to treatment options.
Features: The four key sections are "Why Does It Hurt?" which explores the signs, symptoms, and underlying anatomy and pathophysiology; "Helping Yourself" on issues ranging from basic first aid to lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of back and neck problems; "Working with Your Doctor" about what the doctor is going to do to make the diagnosis, along with suggestions for finding a good doctor; and "Exploring Surgical Options" an overview of surgical options, indications, risks, and benefits from a patient's perspective. This is a wonderful concept and presentation and I believe it will be well received by patients. It might have sold more copies if the demonstration images were in color rather than black and white.
Assessment: This is a wonderful reference for patients, and one that clinicians who care for these patients should make readily available. It provides a bridge between simple exercise handouts and the complex jargon of medical journals. I think your patients will love it.