Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to healing back pain
The complete idiot's guide to healing back pain
Romaine, Deborah S., 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Alpha Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 344 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RD768 .R625 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
RD768 .R625 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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An array of step-by-step approaches to relieve back pain. The book introduces treatment techniques from acupuncture to Swedish massage, physical therapy to chiropractic work, shiatsu to reflexology and more.

Author Notes

Deborah S. Romaine, coauthor of The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Heart (with Dawn E. DeWitt, M.D.), is a professional health writer in Tacoma, Washington. DAWN E. DEWITT, M.D., M.Sc., FACP, is an assistant professor of general interpal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is board-certified in internal medicine and was educated at Harvard and Cambridge universities.

Table of Contents

Part 1 This Back of Yoursp. 1
1 The Backbone of Lifep. 3
The Mixed Blessing of Upright Walkingp. 4
Bad Backs Keep Good Companyp. 5
Are You Good to Your Back? A Self-Quizp. 5
Your Stressed Backp. 8
When Back Pain Rules (and Ruins) Your Lifep. 10
There's Always Hopep. 11
Just for Youp. 13
2 Back Schoolp. 15
Getting Down to Bare Bones: Your Vertebral Columnp. 16
Cushioning the Shock: Intervertebral Disksp. 17
Holding It All Togetherp. 18
The "Body-Wide Web": Your Spinal Cordp. 21
Byways and Side Roads: Major Nervesp. 22
Divide and Conquer: Your Back's Five Sectionsp. 23
The Backbone's Connected to thep. 26
3 Why Backs Go Badp. 27
Who's at Risk and Whyp. 27
When You're Born with Back Problemsp. 30
I've Been Working on the Railroadp. 31
Is Your Job Good to Your Back? A Self-Quizp. 31
Back Health Across the Life Spanp. 34
Get It Off Your Back!p. 37
4 Oh, Your Aching Backp. 39
The Physiology of Painp. 39
The Pain in Your Backp. 42
My Pain's Worse Than Your Painp. 44
It's Pain in Your Back, but Not from Your Backp. 46
When to See a Doctorp. 47
Visiting Your Primary Care Physicianp. 48
What You Can Do for Yourselfp. 50
Part 2 When Your Back Betrays Youp. 51
5 Posture Perfectp. 53
Stand Up Straight: A Posture Self-Testp. 54
What Feels Right May Be Wrongp. 55
Don't Hunker Down...Lift Up!p. 57
Five Posture-Perfect Exercisesp. 61
Sleep Right, Not Tightp. 63
Back in Balancep. 65
6 Not Just for Athletesp. 67
Everyday Challenges to Your Backp. 67
Weekend Warriors, Beware!p. 70
What Can You Do Without Hurting Your Back?p. 75
7 How Does It Hurt? Let Us Count the Ways!p. 79
Strains, Sprains, and Spasmsp. 79
Muscle Fatiguep. 84
It Hurts, but No One Knows Whyp. 85
8 Structural Distress: Bones and Disksp. 89
Flare-Ups: Joints and Inflammationp. 89
Disk Problems (and We Don't Mean Your Computer)p. 92
Going Around the Curvesp. 95
Spinal Stenosisp. 97
Spondylolisthesisp. 97
When the Bone Breaks: Fracturesp. 98
Weak Bones: Osteoporosisp. 99
9 What the Tests Tellp. 101
Checking You Over: Physical Examinationp. 101
Snapshots of Your Bones: X-Raysp. 104
A Closer Look: Imaging Proceduresp. 105
Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studiesp. 110
Evaluating Test Resultsp. 111
Part 3 Pain, Pain, Go Awayp. 113
10 Eastern Philosophy, Western Technologyp. 115
Allopathic and Alternative: Two Approachesp. 115
The Body as Machinep. 116
The Body in Balancep. 119
Does It Have to Be One or the Other?p. 121
Herbal Remediesp. 123
11 Rx: Medical Approaches to Back Reliefp. 125
Fact or Fable? A Self-Quizp. 125
If It Feels Good, Does It Help?p. 127
Medications for Pain Reliefp. 128
N-What? NSAIDsp. 131
Other Over-the-Counter Pain Relieversp. 132
Drugs to Relax Your Backp. 133
Narcotics: Danger Zonep. 133
Tasty Pain Reliefp. 134
Straight to the Source: Injecting Pain Reliefp. 135
Tensp. 135
Tractionp. 136
Corsets, Braces, and Supportsp. 136
12 Exercise Does a Back Goodp. 139
Don't Just Sit Therep. 139
How Fit Are You?: A Self-Quizp. 140
Move over, Charles Atlasp. 141
Working Out with Weightsp. 143
Remember Those Abs!p. 145
Warm Up, Cool Downp. 145
Five Exercises for Back Healthp. 146
Back-Safe Activitiesp. 148
Know When to Back Offp. 149
13 Back Fitness, Eastern Stylep. 151
The "Secret" Language of Yogap. 151
Hatha Yoga: Uniting Body and Mindp. 154
Stretching, Strength, and Flexibility, Yoga Stylep. 155
How Yoga Helps Your Back: A Self-Quizp. 156
Yoga Poses for Back Healthp. 157
A Kinder, Gentler Martial Art: T'ai Chip. 161
14 Imagine a Healthy, Pain-Free Backp. 163
Pain, Stress, and Attitudep. 164
Mind and Matterp. 164
The Power of Perceptionp. 165
Understanding the "Cycle of Sickness"p. 166
Breaking Freep. 166
Creating Your Own "Cycle of Wellness"p. 166
Slow Down, Be Happy: Lower Your Stress Levelp. 167
If You Think It, It Can Be: Meditationp. 171
Envision Your Back Pain Free: Guided Imageryp. 172
A Little Back Talk Can Go a Long Way: Biofeedbackp. 173
With a Little Help from Your Mind: Hypnosisp. 173
Part 4 Cut to the Fixp. 175
15 To Operate or Not?p. 177
When Is Surgery the Best Choice?p. 177
Will Surgery Help Your Back?p. 179
Could Back Surgery Help You? A Self-Quizp. 180
Choosing a Surgeonp. 181
Only Fools Rush Inp. 182
Preparing for Surgeryp. 184
16 What to Expect with Surgeryp. 189
Countdown to Surgeryp. 189
Feel No Pain: Anesthesiap. 191
Minimally Invasive Proceduresp. 194
Open Proceduresp. 195
Will Once Be Enough?p. 197
17 The Road to Recoveryp. 199
"Will I Ever Be the Same?"p. 199
Keeping a Lid on Postoperative Painp. 200
Wound Carep. 200
Regaining Strength and Functionp. 202
Physical Therapyp. 202
Returning to Regular Activitiesp. 204
Life Beyond Painp. 207
Give Yourself Time to Healp. 208
Part 5 A Healing Touchp. 209
18 A Hands-On Approach: Chiropracticp. 211
How Chiropractic Got Its Startp. 211
Common Misperceptions About Chiropractic: A Self-Quizp. 212
Back Out of Whack: Subluxationp. 215
Adjustments for a Better Backp. 216
Adjunctive Therapiesp. 218
Choosing a Chiropractorp. 218
The Chiropractor as Caregiverp. 220
19 Ancient Chinese Wisdom: Acupuncturep. 223
An Ancient Treatment with a Modern Benefitp. 223
These Needles Don't Do Shotsp. 224
East Meets West: Old Techniques, New Technologiesp. 225
The Eastern View: Channeling Chi for Healingp. 226
The Western View: Electrochemical Interferencep. 229
Choosing an Acupuncturistp. 231
When to Seek Other Carep. 232
20 Focus on Function: Osteopathyp. 233
The Self-Healing Processp. 233
All for One and One for All: The Body Unifiedp. 235
Relieving Pain: Everything in Its Rightful Placep. 235
Choosing an Osteopathic Physicianp. 238
Sports Medicine and Your Backp. 239
21 Hands-On Healing: Therapeutic Massage and Physical Therapyp. 241
The Therapeutic Benefits of Massagep. 241
Massage Strokes Your Back Will Lovep. 243
Massage Your Range of Motionp. 244
Muscle in on Back Painp. 244
The Therapeutic Touch of Physical Therapyp. 245
Practitioner Qualificationsp. 248
22 Unproven Remediesp. 251
Fake or Real? A Self-Quizp. 252
The Risks of Unproven Treatmentsp. 254
Check It Outp. 255
If It Sounds Too Good to Be Truep. 255
Popular but Unproven Treatmentsp. 257
If It's No Good, Why Does It Work?p. 261
Part 6 Back-Healthy Livingp. 263
23 Back to Workp. 265
How Ergonomic Is Your Workplace?p. 265
Avoid Back-Breaking Loadsp. 268
Get Off Your Duff, You Couch Potato!p. 271
If Your Back Gives You Problemsp. 271
When Your Office Is in Your Homep. 274
Create a "Back-Friendly" Environmentp. 275
24 Living with Back Problemsp. 277
Manage Your Painp. 277
Nutrition to the Rescuep. 278
The Power of Daily Exercisep. 279
Lifestyle Mattersp. 280
Your Back and Your Weightp. 282
Get a Life!p. 285
Nurturing Your Body/Mind Connectionp. 285
25 Women and Back Painp. 287
Hormones and Body Designp. 287
The Female Backp. 288
Back Health During Pregnancyp. 293
Five Back-Friendly Exercises for Pregnant Womenp. 295
Just for New Momsp. 298
Menopause Is More Than Hot Flashesp. 300
26 It's All in the Familyp. 305
Baby Backsp. 305
Kids and Back Painp. 307
Housework and Home Improvementsp. 309
Safe Sex for Your Backp. 310
You Can Teach an Old Back New Tricksp. 311
Three Exercises for an Aging Backp. 311
27 Back Expectationsp. 315
When Someone You Love Has a Bad Backp. 315
What's Bad for Your Loved One Is Bad for Youp. 317
Taking Good Care of Your Back: A Self-Quizp. 318
Prevention Is the Best Curep. 319
Stay Informedp. 320
Think Positivep. 321
A Glossaryp. 323
B Who Treats Back Pain?p. 329
C Resources for Back Painp. 331
Indexp. 335