• From the Publisher
May 16, 2017

On April 14, 2008, Cathryn Jakob­son Ramin put a note in her cal­en­dar: Find spine sur­geon.” For decades she’d sought to avoid open war­fare with her back, but the truce had final­ly end­ed. She’d spent a for­tune on chi­ro­prac­tic care acupunc­ture phys­i­cal ther­a­py and mas­sage. She’d signed up for Pilates, yoga, T’ai chi, and strength train­ing, but her pain only inten­si­fied. She felt angry, hope­less, and trapped. And as it turned out she is hard­ly alone. She found her­self delv­ing deep­er and deep­er into the behe­moth that is the back pain indus­try. Back trou­ble she dis­cov­ered in all its per­mu­ta­tions costs the Unit­ed States rough­ly $100 bil­lion a year more than is spent annu­al­ly to treat can­cer coro­nary artery dis­ease and AIDS com­bined. Ramin has spent the past six years trav­el­ing around the world and inter­view­ing more than five hun­dred peo­ple includ­ing fore­most experts in spe­cial­ties rang­ing from spine surgery to ergonom­ics to a lit­tle-known branch of mus­cu­loskele­tal med­i­cine called physi­a­try”. She has spent hours with reha­bil­i­ta­tion spe­cial­ists exer­cise phys­i­ol­o­gists phys­i­cal ther­a­pists Feldenkrais Method and Alexan­der Tech­nique teach­ers and Rolf­ing Struc­tur­al Inte­gra­tion prac­ti­tion­ers. She’s stood on hard linoleum floors in oper­at­ing rooms all over the Unit­ed States observ­ing every kind of spine pro­ce­dure. She’s spent hun­dreds of hours talk­ing with patients who are in hot pur­suit of their own solu­tions. Most impor­tant­ly, she’s inves­ti­gat­ed first­hand the approach­es that have reli­ably brought relief to a lot of peo­ple. Crooked will shat­ter assump­tions about when surgery is need­ed, the use­ful­ness of chi­ro­prac­tic phys­i­cal ther­a­py, injec­tions, and painkillers — and cru­cial­ly address reha­bil­i­ta­tion options that reli­ably bring relief.

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