Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin. Harper, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-264178-6
Veteran journalist Ramin (Carved in Sand) spent six years researching her latest topic, conducting 600 interviews for this comprehensive investigation. She also personally explored a number of back-pain solutions—as human lab rat, the author took notes while being examined in her underwear (a first, she observes, “in over three decades as an investigative reporter”) and observed disc surgery while cloaked in scrubs. Although she experienced chronic back pain herself, her personal story isn’t shared until chapter 10; the book’s first half is instead a riveting exposé of the back-pain industry, critiquing such common treatments as lumbar spinal fusion, epidural spinal injections, and opioid prescription. Though Ramin asserts that she knew very little about the back-pain industry when she began her research, she soon realized that she was delving into a checkered subject with “twists, turns and corrupt characters” worthy of a Le Carré novel. Ramin offers two approaches to her text: readers may begin with a chronological study of various medical techniques and their efficacy (or lack thereof), or they may jump into part two (“Solutions”) first, where they will encounter a much more optimistic exploration of back rehabilitation, exercise, Iyengar yoga, tai chi, and other nonoperative approaches. This book will be of particular interest to back-pain sufferers and health care professionals. Agent: Michael Carlisle, InkWell Management. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 05/01/2017
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-267434-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-1631-0
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-264180-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-1632-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-1633-4
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-06-264179-3
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