Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery
The acclaimed author of Carved in Sand—a veteran investigative journalist who endured persistent back pain for decades—delivers the definitive book on the subject: an essential examination of all facets of the back pain industry, exploring what works, what doesn't, what may cause harm, and how to get on the road to recovery.
In her effort to manage her chronic back pain, investigative reporter Cathryn Jakobson Ramin spent years and a small fortune on a panoply of treatments. But her discomfort only intensified, leaving her feeling frustrated and perplexed. As she searched for better solutions, she exposed a much bigger problem. Costing roughly $100 billion a year, spine medicine—often ineffective and sometimes harmful —exemplified the worst aspects of the U.S. health care system.
The result of six years of intensive investigation, Crooked offers a startling look at the poorly identified risks of spine medicine, and provides practical advice and solutions. Ramin interviewed scores of spine surgeons, pain management doctors, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, specialized bodywork practitioners. She met with many patients whose pain and desperation led them to make life-altering decisions, and with others who triumphed over their limitations.
The result is a brilliant and comprehensive book that is not only important but essential to millions of back pain sufferers, and all types of health care professionals. Ramin shatters assumptions about surgery, chiropractic methods, physical therapy, spinal injections and painkillers, and addresses evidence-based rehabilitation options—showing, in detail, how to avoid therapeutic dead ends, while saving money, time, and considerable anguish. With Crooked, she reveals what it takes to outwit the back pain industry and get on the road to recovery.
“…[A] well-researched and fascinating read detailing the heart-wrenching experience so common to millions of back pain sufferers. Ramin exposes the devastating financial and emotional cost of back pain…Ultimately, her in-depth research lights the way to a better path for healing.” (Miranda Esmonde-White, New York Times bestselling author of Forever Painless)“…Ramin offers a thoughtful and heartfelt way … to treat one of humankind’s most debilitating disorders–chronic back pain. A remarkable guide from someone who unfortunately had to make the journey, and found her way out.” (Paul A. Offit, MD, author of Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong)“I see back pain patients who have undergone invasive procedures before they go through evidence-based rehabilitation. In a most engaging way, Cathryn Jakobson Ramin tells it like it is. Whether you’re a patient, a physician, or a public policy wonk, you should read this book.” (VIJAY VAD, MD, sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and author of Back RX)“…Ramin has written a riveting and disturbing account of a sector of American medicine that’s gone very wrong…. Politics, science, history–it’s all in there, along with concrete advice for fellow sufferers. Policymakers can learn from this book, and patients can, too.” (Jonathan Cohn, author of The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis and The People Who Pay the Price)“[A] thoroughly reported first-person take on the back-pain industry . . . Buyer beware! This cautionary book ends on a high note with the once-hobbled-by-back-pain author standing up straight and hiking a 13,000-foot trail in the Peruvian Andes.” (Booklist)
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