Cover image for Back pain remedies for dummies
Back pain remedies for dummies
Sinel, Michael S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Foster City, CA : IDG Books Worldwide, [1999]

Physical Description:
358 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RD771.B217 S56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Back pain is such a common condition that many doctors andresearchers consider the complaint a normal part of life, similarto having an occasional cold or flu. If you are a back painsufferer, you are not alone: Back pain affects more than 80 percent of the population atsome time during their lifetime. Back pain is second only to the common cold as a reason forvisits to the doctor and it is second only to childbirth as areason for hospitalization. Approximately 50 percent of the working population reports backproblems every year. The total medical cost of back pain exceeds 20 billion dollarsa year in the United States.

Back Pain Remedies For Dummies takes a holistic approachto back pain prevention and treatment. Exploring the therapeuticoptions - from conventional medicine to popularalternative treatments - this patient-friendlyguide gives you a heads-up on how to relieve pain now and avoidfuture injuries, plus

Boning up on your spinal column's pieces and parts Uncovering some conditions that cause back pain Examining the lineup of doctors who treat what ails yourback Taking your pain lying down - or not Giving weight to alternative therapies, including yoga,acupuncture, and imagery exercises Promoting the importance of good posture Returning to work and play with a healthy outlook Saying yes to sex after a back injury

As you try to manage your back pain problem and investigatevarious treatment approaches, you can help yourself by beingassured and hopeful that you can remedy your problem. This reliablereference gives you plenty to reason to believe that back pain doesget better, and successful treatment is possible. You can expect tofind the best treatment for your back problem when you have someunderstanding of who treats back pain, how he or she treats it, andwhy using a multidisciplinary approach isimportant - all of that awaits in Back PainRemedies For Dummies.

Author Notes

Michael S. Sinel, M.D., is a nationally renowned back pain expert. An assistant clinical professor at UCLA Medical Center, he is Board Certified in both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pain Management. As attending physician for the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center and California Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (COR) in Beverly Hills, California, he is involved in clinical research of spinal disorders and specializes in nonsurgical approaches to back problems. Dr. Sinel has made numerous national radio and television appearances, and has been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Reader's Digest.
William W. Deardorff, Ph.D., is a Board Certified clinical health psychologist, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. He has published over three dozen scientific articles, numerous book chapters, and five books. His patient guidebook, Preparing for Surgery: A Mind-Body Approach to Enhance Healing and Recovery, won the Small Press Book Award in Health in 1998. He is in practice at California Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (COR) in Beverly Hills, California.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
About This Bookp. 1
Foolish Assumptionsp. 2
What You're Not to Readp. 2
How This Book Is Organizedp. 3
Part I Getting Back to Back Basicsp. 3
Part II Conventional Treatment Optionsp. 3
Part III Complementary Approaches: Are They for You?p. 4
Part IV Rehabilitationp. 4
Part V Resuming Normal Activity and Preventing Future Injury: Work, Play, and Sexp. 4
Part VI The Part of Tensp. 5
Icons Used in This Bookp. 5
Where to Go from Herep. 6
Part I Getting Back to Back Basicsp. 7
Chapter 1 Ouch! The Problem of Back Painp. 9
Defining Back Painp. 10
Who experiences back pain?p. 11
What causes back pain?p. 11
Treating Back Painp. 12
My back pain can get better, right?p. 12
Who can treat my back pain?p. 13
How is my back pain treated?p. 15
How do I choose a multidisciplinary approach?p. 17
Chapter 2 Introducing the Parts of Your Spinep. 19
Feeling Fine with Help from Your Spinep. 20
Touring Your Splendid Spinep. 21
The spinal columnp. 21
Vertebrae: The bones of your backp. 23
The discsp. 23
The facet jointsp. 24
The ligamentsp. 26
The spinal canalp. 27
The sacrum and coccyxp. 27
The sacroiliac jointsp. 28
The nervesp. 28
The musclesp. 28
Chapter 3 The Root of All Back Painp. 31
A New Idea About Pain: The Gate Control Theoryp. 32
Understanding Categories of Painp. 34
The Need to Diagnose: Helpful or Harmful?p. 35
Diagnosing based upon an imaging scanp. 36
The role of psychological and emotional factorsp. 36
Understanding the Deconditioning Syndromep. 37
Conditions that Cause Back Painp. 37
Herniated disc/sciaticap. 38
The sprain-strain diagnosisp. 42
Stress-related back painp. 44
Arthritis of the spinep. 44
Degenerative disc diseasep. 45
Facet syndromep. 46
Arachnoiditisp. 47
Spondylolisthesis and spondylolysisp. 48
Coccydyniap. 49
Spinal fracturesp. 50
Lumbar spinal stenosisp. 51
Chronic back pain syndromep. 52
Other Conditions That Cause Back Painp. 54
Discitisp. 54
Fibromyalgiap. 54
Osteomyelitisp. 55
Spina bifida occultap. 55
Scoliosisp. 55
Transitional vertebraep. 56
Osteoporosisp. 56
Chapter 4 Out of Your Hands: When to Seek Help and from Whomp. 57
Who Treats Back Pain?p. 57
Primary care doctorsp. 58
Specialistsp. 59
Subspecialistsp. 59
Asking Your Doctor the Right Questionsp. 60
Dealing with Chiropractors and Other Practitionersp. 63
Building a Positive Relationship with Your Healthcare Providerp. 64
Part II Conventional Treatment Optionsp. 65
Chapter 5 Home Remedies: First Aid for Your Back Attackp. 67
Heading for the Doctorp. 67
Using Home Remediesp. 69
Climb into bed -- but not for too long!p. 69
Cool down and heat upp. 71
Try anti-inflammatory drugsp. 73
Start to move and returning to normal activityp. 74
Chapter 6 Back Pain under the Microscope: Common Medical Testsp. 75
Meeting with Your Back Pain Doctorp. 75
Getting personalp. 76
Getting physicalp. 77
Examining Your Doctorp. 78
Exploring Your Diagnostic Testing Optionsp. 79
Plain X raysp. 80
The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)p. 81
The CT scanp. 83
Myelographyp. 84
Bone scanp. 86
Discogramp. 86
Electrodiagnostic studiesp. 87
Moving from Body to Mindp. 87
Chapter 7 Going the Conservative Treatment Routep. 89
The Active Therapiesp. 90
Exercisep. 90
Your back conditioning programp. 93
Pain programs, functional restoration, and work hardening programsp. 95
The Passive Therapiesp. 97
Hot and cold packsp. 97
Ultrasoundp. 98
Massagep. 98
Bed restp. 99
Water therapyp. 99
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)p. 100
Tractionp. 101
Corsets and bracesp. 101
Medicationsp. 101
Analgesicsp. 102
Anti-inflammatory medicationsp. 104
Muscle relaxantsp. 105
Sedativesp. 106
Anti-anxiety agentsp. 107
Antidepressantsp. 107
Invasive Conservative Treatmentsp. 109
Trigger point injectionsp. 109
Facet injectionsp. 109
Spinal epidural steroid injectionsp. 110
Selective nerve root blocksp. 110
Implantable Pain Therapiesp. 111
Spinal column stimulationp. 112
Implanted drug infusion therapyp. 113
Chapter 8 Choosing to Have Back Surgeryp. 115
Choosing Surgeryp. 117
Determining When Surgery is Necessaryp. 117
Medically necessary spine surgeryp. 117
Choosing to have surgeryp. 118
Addressing Psychological Issues and Surgeryp. 120
Finding a Spine Surgeonp. 122
Gathering informationp. 122
Evaluating your referralsp. 122
Recognizing Red Flags in Working with Your Spine Surgeonp. 123
Your surgeon allows no questionsp. 123
Your surgeon does not allow a second opinion or is threatened by itp. 124
Your surgeon says "I can cure you"p. 125
Your surgeon suggests exploratory spine surgeryp. 125
Your surgeon uses scare tacticsp. 125
Your surgeon doesn't consider conservative treatmentp. 125
Different Types of Spine Surgeryp. 126
Chymopapain injection or chemonucleosisp. 126
Percutaneous discectomyp. 126
Microsurgical discectomyp. 127
Laminectomyp. 128
Spinal fusionp. 129
Preparing for Surgeryp. 130
The Future of Spine Surgeryp. 131
Part III Complementary Approaches: Are They for You?p. 133
Chapter 9 Ancient Eastern Wisdom and Contemporary Ideasp. 135
Selecting an Alternative Medicine Practitionerp. 136
Choosing the Best Complementary Medicine Approach for Youp. 137
Asking the right questionsp. 137
Avoiding quackeryp. 138
Considering Specific Alternative Treatment Methodsp. 139
Acupuncture: Needling your way to a better backp. 139
Herbal medicinep. 143
Magnetic therapyp. 146
Bodyworkp. 148
Chapter 10 A Chiropractic Solution to Back Painp. 153
How Chiropractors Think about Back Problemsp. 154
When to Choose Chiropracticp. 155
What to Expect -- Diagnosis and Treatmentp. 156
Diagnostic methodsp. 157
Treatment methodsp. 159
Possible Side Effectsp. 159
Stopping Chiropractic Treatmentp. 160
Chapter 11 All in Knots: Yoga for Your Back Problemp. 161
Beginning Hatha Yogap. 162
Practicing yoga postures: Asanap. 162
Controlling your breath: Pranayamap. 162
Meditating toward samadhip. 164
Using Yoga to Treat Back Painp. 164
Yoga and back exercisep. 165
Daily journalp. 166
Rest and relaxationp. 167
Chapter 12 Using the Power of the Mind-Body Connectionp. 169
Taking Control of Your Thoughts and Emotionp. 170
Recognizing automatic thoughtsp. 170
Using automatic thoughts to your advantagep. 171
Changing your thoughtsp. 172
Using the three- and five-column techniquesp. 174
The Relaxation Response: More Than Just Relaxingp. 176
Different Types of Breathingp. 178
Breathing awarenessp. 179
Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathingp. 180
Cue-Controlled Relaxationp. 182
Using Imagery Techniquesp. 183
Practicing imageryp. 183
Standard imagery exercisesp. 186
Biofeedback Trainingp. 188
Here's a Suggestion: Hypnosisp. 190
Part IV Rehabilitationp. 193
Chapter 13 The Importance of Posturep. 195
Sizing Up Static Posturesp. 195
Standing up for yourselfp. 196
Sitting on the dock of the bayp. 200
Sitting pretty (and healthfully)p. 201
Lying down on the job -- and anywhere elsep. 204
Dealing with Dynamic Posturesp. 206
Walking tallp. 206
Lift and bend, one-two-threep. 210
Chapter 14 Exercising Your Way to a Healthy Backp. 215
Exercise Tipsp. 215
Exercise Warningsp. 216
Your Back Exercise Programp. 217
Exercise 1 Pelvic tiltp. 218
Exercise 2 Single leg pullp. 218
Exercise 3 Double knee to chestp. 219
Exercise 4 The pretzelp. 220
Exercise 5 Pelvic liftp. 221
Exercise 6 Partial sit-upp. 221
Exercise 7 The oblique sit-upp. 222
Exercise 8 Hamstring stretchp. 223
Exercise 9 Press-upp. 224
Exercise 10 Cat and camelp. 225
Exercise 11 Arm reachp. 227
Exercise 12 Leg reachp. 227
Exercise 13 Alternate arm and leg reachp. 228
Exercise 14 Wall slidep. 229
Exercise 15 Side stretchp. 230
Exercise 16 Back archp. 231
Chapter 15 Products for Better Back Healthp. 233
For Your Homep. 234
BackSaver Zero-Gravity Stress-Free Reclinersp. 234
BackSaver Rolling Ergo Desk Matep. 235
Relax the Back Zero-Gravity Massage Loungerp. 235
BackSaver Wonder Cushionp. 235
While You Are Sleepingp. 235
Relax the Back Pressure Relief Mattressp. 236
Adjustable bed framesp. 236
Tempur-Pedic pillowsp. 236
BackSaver Relax 'n' Read Pillowp. 237
BackSaver Zero-Gravity Bed Systemp. 237
For Your Officep. 237
Relax the Back Signature Series chairsp. 237
Mid-priced management chairsp. 238
BackSaver Executive Chairsp. 238
Portable back and seat supportsp. 238
Changeable-height workstationsp. 238
Ergonomic footrestsp. 239
While You Travelp. 239
Self-inflating back restp. 239
Sacro-Ease Commuter Supportsp. 239
Tempur-Pedic Transit Pillowp. 239
While You Stay Healthy and Fitp. 240
Bodytech Golf Beltp. 240
Swiss ballp. 240
Part V Resuming Normal Activity and Preventing Future Injury: Work, Play, and Sexp. 241
Chapter 16 Getting Back to Workp. 243
The Purpose of Workp. 243
Identifying Risky Occupationsp. 244
Jobs that require lifting and bendingp. 244
All shook up: Exposure to vibrationp. 245
Sitting down on the jobp. 246
Returning to Workp. 247
Identifying what's blocking you from returning to workp. 247
Choosing to return to workp. 248
Preparing to Return to Workp. 249
Physical reconditioningp. 249
Educationp. 250
Preparing for flare-upsp. 251
Returning to the Officep. 251
Chapter 17 Safely Returning to Your Favorite Sports: The Weekend Warriorp. 255
Getting Involved in Sports Safelyp. 256
Warming up and cooling downp. 256
Competition: Putting your sport in perspectivep. 257
Knowing the risksp. 258
Playing Sports with Back Painp. 259
Low-risk sportsp. 260
Low- to medium-risk sportsp. 261
Medium-risk sportsp. 264
Medium- to high-risk sportsp. 266
High-risk sportsp. 269
Chapter 18 Sex and Back Pain: Getting "Back" in the Saddlep. 271
Understanding Back Pain's Vicious Cyclep. 271
Don't Be Shy: Communicatep. 272
Getting in the Moodp. 275
Getting Physicalp. 276
Back Friendly Sexual Positions, or "Getting Down to It"p. 277
Getting started: Doing it without doing itp. 277
Outercoursep. 277
The missionary positionp. 278
The female superior positionp. 279
Doggie stylep. 279
Side by sidep. 280
Putting It All Togetherp. 281
Part VI The Part of Tensp. 283
Chapter 19 Ten Most Common Questions about Back Painp. 285
Can I Manage My Herniated Disc without Surgery?p. 285
What Kind of Doctor Should I See for My Back Pain?p. 286
Why Do I Still Have Pain When My Imaging Scans Are Normal?p. 287
What About Alternative Treatments for My Back Pain?p. 288
Is My Diagnosis as Terrible as It Sounds?p. 289
When Should I Consider Surgery for My Back Pain Problem?p. 289
Can Stress and Emotions Cause My Back Pain?p. 290
How Can Pain Only in My Legs Be Related to My Back?p. 290
What Does a Good Medical Evaluation Consist of for Back Pain?p. 291
Should I Continue Exercising if Doing So Worsens My Pain?p. 291
Chapter 20 Ten Steps to a Healthy Backp. 293
Stay in Shapep. 293
Do Your Back Exercisesp. 293
Maintain Your Proper Body Weightp. 294
Watch Out for High-Risk Sportsp. 294
Foster a Positive Attitudep. 294
Lift and Move Properlyp. 295
Don't Lift and Twistp. 295
Don't Stand or Sit for Long Periodsp. 295
Use a Good Chairp. 296
Avoid Carrying Heavy Luggagep. 296
Chapter 21 Ten Reasons to See a Doctor for Back Painp. 297
You're Weak in the Legs (or Feet)p. 297
You Can't Control Your Bowels or Bladderp. 298
Your Back Pain Gives You a Rude Awakeningp. 298
You Have New Symptoms or Excruciating Painp. 299
You Undergo a Serious Traumap. 299
You Want to Pursue Alternative Treatmentsp. 300
You Need More than Chicken Soupp. 300
You're Not Seeing Improvementp. 301
Your Medications Aren't Workingp. 301
Your Doctor Recommends Surgeryp. 301
Chapter 22 Ten Tips for Working Successfully with Your Doctorp. 303
Identifying Your Communication Stylep. 304
Becoming an Assertive Communicatorp. 305
Planning Your Interview and Doctor Visit in Advancep. 306
Preparing Your Medical Fact Sheetp. 306
Checking Your Attitudep. 307
Allowing the Doctor to Ask Questions Firstp. 308
Making Sure That You Understand the Conclusionsp. 308
Bringing a Friendp. 308
Directing Your Questions to the Appropriate Personp. 309
Exploring Other Sources of Informationp. 309
Chapter 23 Ten Hot Topics in Back Painp. 311
A Revolutionary New Medicine: Celebrexp. 311
Back Pain and the Unconscious Mindp. 312
The Cybertech Back Bracep. 313
MR Neurography: Taking a Picture of Your Nervesp. 314
Preparing Psychologically for Your Spine Surgeryp. 315
Spinal Endoscopyp. 317
Preemptive Analgesiap. 318
Treating Massive Disc Herniations without Surgeryp. 322
Advances in Spine Surgeryp. 320
Advances in Implantable Pain Therapiesp. 321
Advances in spinal cord stimulation technologyp. 321
New medications for intraspinal drug infusion systemsp. 322
Appendix A Glossaryp. 323
Appendix B Resources for Additional Informationp. 333
Organizationsp. 333
Acupressure and acupuncturep. 333
Alternative and complementary medicine (general)p. 334
Biofeedbackp. 334
Bodyworkp. 334
Chiropracticp. 334
Consumer information and protectionp. 335
Drugs, medications, and productsp. 335
Homeopathyp. 335
Hypnosis and hypnotherapyp. 335
Massage therapyp. 336
Meditationp. 336
Mental healthp. 336
Nutritionp. 337
Osteopathyp. 337
Pain (general)p. 337
Professional medical societies (see also Surgery)p. 338
Relaxation techniquesp. 339
Sleep problemsp. 339
Spine societiesp. 339
Substance abusep. 339
Surgeryp. 339
Yogap. 340
Internet Resourcesp. 340
Product Resourcesp. 342