Heal Your Aching Back: What a Harvard Doctor Wants You to Know about Finding Relief and Keeping Your Back Strong

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Take back your health, your fitness, and your life

This authoritative and comprehensive guide, written by a Harvard doctor who has struggled with back pain himself, will help you find the real cause of your problem--and the smartest way to treat it. This simple step-by-step program will show you how to:

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Take back your health, your fitness, and your life

This authoritative and comprehensive guide, written by a Harvard doctor who has struggled with back pain himself, will help you find the real cause of your problem--and the smartest way to treat it. This simple step-by-step program will show you how to:

  • Get the right diagnosis for your type of back pain
  • Find the most effective treatment, including complementary therapies
  • Control pain through specific exercises, massage, and yoga
  • Avoid surgery, prevent reinjury, and strengthen your back for life

Dr. Katz also gives you the most up-to-date information on chiropractic care, new pain medications, alternative physical therapies, and back surgery.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071467650
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: Harvard Medical School Guides Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xv
The Perplexities of Back Pain
Bewildered by Your Back Pain?     3
A Bewildering Condition     4
Join the Crowd     8
My Back's Killing Me     10
You're in Charge     10
Bewildered No More     16
Factors Affecting Who Gets Back Pain     17
Your Age     18
Your Gender     19
Pregnancy and Your Back     20
Your Genes     21
How You Work and Play     21
Your Physical Makeup and Posture     22
How You Deal Emotionally with Life's Slings and Arrows     23
Other Risk Factors     24
Understanding Back Pain
The Workings of Your Back     29
The Wonder That Is Your Back     30
Your Back Through the Ages     36
Your Spine from Top to Bottom     37
Enough with the Anatomy!     50
Why Your Back Hurts     53
Sprain-and-Strain Syndromes     58
Pinched (Compressed) Nerve Syndromes     63
Degenerative Disk Conditions     63
Degenerative Spinal Disease     70
Other Causes of Back Pain     71
Backache from Other Organs     77
Getting a Diagnosis     79
How Should I Begin My Search?     80
Visit a Doctor, But Which One?     82
A Well-Prepared Medical History     83
The Value of the Physical Examination     85
When Imaging Tests Are Helpful     86
Other Diagnostic Procedures     95
Controlling Your Pain
Priority Number One: Relieving Your Pain     101
What Is Pain?     102
Pain: Out with the Old; In with the New     103
Classifying Your Pain by Its Duration     106
How Pain Works     107
Your Body's Natural Pain Relief Plan     111
Once More with Feeling: Describe Your Back Pain     113
Medicating Your Back Pain     116
Electrical Stimulation Therapies     136
Can Complementary Therapies Help Your Aching Back?     141
Get the Best: Is Your Therapist Qualified?     145
Spinal Manipulation     146
Massage     149
Acupuncture     152
Mind-Body Therapies     154
Complementary Exercise Programs     164
Other Complementary Pain Treatments     167
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Supplements      168
Herbal Products and Back Pain     169
A Prudent Approach     172
Managing Your Back Condition
Nonsurgical Treatments for Your Backache     175
Your Back's Capacity to Heal Itself     176
Waiting Out Acute Back Pain     177
Getting Going Again     182
Sign Up with an Exercise Professional     184
Principles of Rehabilitative Exercise for Back Pain     186
Strengthening and Stretching the Muscles of Your Back     190
Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises for Acute Back Pain     201
Is Surgery Right for You?     203
How Do You Decide?     203
Do You Meet Surgical Criteria?     206
Weighing Surgical Risks and Benefits     206
Surgery for Disk Disease     208
Surgery for Compression (Osteoporotic) Fractures     214
Surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis     217
Spinal Fusion Surgery     218
Surgery for Other Back Problems     220
Knowing When You're Ready to Decide     222
Preventing a Repeat Episode     225
Stay Fit     225
Getting in the Exercise Groove     227
Watch Your Weight     229
Kick the Smoking Habit      231
The Everyday Business of Moving and Sitting     231
When Pain Persists     239
Pain That Takes on a Life of Its Own     239
What Is Debilitating Chronic Pain?     240
Who's at Risk?     241
What Can Be Done for Patients with Chronic Pain?     243
Glossary     247
Additional Resources     255
Index     261
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Can-do guide to curing your backache

    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. We highly recommend it to those who already suffer from back pain and want a head start at the doctor¿s office.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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