Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D. is a board-certified surgeon specializing in spine neurosurgery. He is the co-founder of Spine Options, New York’s first and only facility committed to non-surgical care of back and neck pain. Dr. Stern has been on the front lines of back pain treatment and research for more than four decades, during which he has helped more than ten thousand patients find relief. In his book “Ending Back Pain: 5 Powerful Steps to Diagnose, Understand, and Treat Your Ailing Back,” he shares a multidisciplinary, holistic perspective that has been missing from conventional back pain treatment and has already helped thousands of patients suffering from back pain.
“Ending Back Pain” begins with a Preface where Dr. Stern shares his experience with back pain. After a well-meaning birthday gift from his wife-a massage, goes horribly wrong, he was able to self-diagnose and, thanks to proper access to medical care, get the necessary treatment to get relief. He realized that most people are not so lucky. This experience deepened his understanding of what his patients go through and made him a more empathetic doctor. His goal in writing this book is “to equip every back pain sufferer with the information and power to get to the bottom of his or her own problem.” It is a step-by-step companion to enable people to finally achieve a pain-free lifestyle.
The book is divided into five steps: Step 1: Unlock Your Back’s Unique Pain Code, Step 2: Prepare to Work with Health Care Professionals, Step 3: Ensure Proper Diagnosis, Step 4: Embrace Various Pathways to Healing: A Physical and Emotional Journey and Step 5: Live a Life That Supports a Strong, Healthy Back. He begins step 1 with a checklist to help readers pinpoint exactly where the pain is located. Part of this has to do with the six Pain Generators: muscles, soft tissue, bones, discs, facets and neural foramina. This information is meant to create better educated patients who are active participants in the treatment of his or her medical issues to receive the best care possible. At the end, he provides a section of recommended reading and online resources for anyone who wants more information on the subject.
Not only is the author a doctor, but he also understands how debilitating back pain can be and how frustrating it can be to seek treatment. That is what gives “Ending Back Pain” an authentic voice. This extremely useful guide contains basic anatomy lessons that often read like a textbook. The purpose is to help readers understand the origin of their pain. He achieves this without using complicated medical jargon, but easy to understand terminology. Highlights include Step 3 where Dr. Stern explains the inner workings of a doctor’s mind and the different types of pain to help patients ensure a proper diagnosis; and Step 4 which includes other medical options such as physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga/Pilates. Step 5 is especially informative on how posture, sleep, positive thinking and a healthy diet can help treat and in some cases prevent back pain. “Ending Back Pain” is recommended for readers who want to be informed patients regarding pain with the understanding that in the long run, informed patients get better care.
“Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States-only headaches are more common….And some 95 percent will recover from back pain without invasive or risky treatments.”
*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.