Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery
Harper, 9780062641786, 448pp.
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
The acclaimed author of Carved in Sand—a veteran investigative journalist who endured persistent back pain for decades—delivers the definitive book on the subject: an essential examination of all facets of the back pain industry, exploring what works, what doesn't, what may cause harm, and how to get on the road to recovery.
In her effort to manage her chronic back pain, investigative reporter Cathryn Jakobson Ramin spent years and a small fortune on a panoply of treatments. But her discomfort only intensified, leaving her feeling frustrated and perplexed. As she searched for better solutions, she exposed a much bigger problem. Costing roughly $100 billion a year, spine medicine—often ineffective and sometimes harmful —exemplified the worst aspects of the U.S. health care system.
The result of six years of intensive investigation, Crooked offers a startling look at the poorly identified risks of spine medicine, and provides practical advice and solutions. Ramin interviewed scores of spine surgeons, pain management doctors, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, specialized bodywork practitioners. She met with many patients whose pain and desperation led them to make life-altering decisions, and with others who triumphed over their limitations.
The result is a brilliant and comprehensive book that is not only important but essential to millions of back pain sufferers, and all types of health care professionals. Ramin shatters assumptions about surgery, chiropractic methods, physical therapy, spinal injections and painkillers, and addresses evidence-based rehabilitation options—showing, in detail, how to avoid therapeutic dead ends, while saving money, time, and considerable anguish. With Crooked, she reveals what it takes to outwit the back pain industry and get on the road to recovery.
About the Author
Investigative journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin is the author of Carved in Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife, published by HarperCollins in 2007. Her new book about the back pain industry, Crooked, will be published in April 2017. She’s written for many national magazines on topics that include healthcare, neuroscience, business, public policy, travel, art, design and culture. A popular speaker, these days, she’s booking lectures that enlighten patients, health care practitioners, corporations and medical facilities about how to manage back pain. Cathryn is married to Ron Ramin, a music composer. They have two adult sons, Avery and Oliver, and a Jack Russell-Daschundt mix dog named Dasch, after the punctuation mark, which he resembles. She divides her time between Northern California and New York City. Facebook: http://bit.ly/fbcrooked . Twitter: @cjramin
Praise For Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery…
— Jane Brody, New York Times
“Written by veteran investigative journalist and back pain sufferer Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, Crooked highlights how traditional treatments such as chiropractic, surgery and injections are largely ineffective. Ramin argues the psychological impact of back pain… is so severe that people are compelled to pursue any possibility of relief.”
— New York Post
“Ramin decided to deploy her skills as a journalist and investigate the $100 billion back pain industry. She went on to write Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, an incredible tale of back pain and its treatment, published last May.”
“Ramin offers a thoughtful and heartfelt way … to treat one of humankind’s most debilitating disorders–chronic back pain. A remarkable guide from someone who unfortunately had to make the journey, and found her way out.”
— Paul A. Offit, MD, author of Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong
“I see back pain patients who have undergone invasive procedures before they go through evidence-based rehabilitation. In a most engaging way, Cathryn Jakobson Ramin tells it like it is. Whether you’re a patient, a physician, or a public policy wonk, you should read this book.”
— Vijay Vad, MD, sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and author of Back RX
“Ramin has written a riveting and disturbing account of a sector of American medicine that’s gone very wrong…. Politics, science, history–it’s all in there, along with concrete advice for fellow sufferers. Policymakers can learn from this book, and patients can, too.”
— Jonathan Cohn, author of The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis and The People Who Pay the Price
“[A] thoroughly reported first-person take on the back-pain industry . . . Buyer beware! This cautionary book ends on a high note with the once-hobbled-by-back-pain author standing up straight and hiking a 13,000-foot trail in the Peruvian Andes.”
“…[A] well-researched and fascinating read detailing the heart-wrenching experience so common to millions of back pain sufferers. Ramin exposes the devastating financial and emotional cost of back pain…Ultimately, her in-depth research lights the way to a better path for healing.”
— Miranda Esmonde-White, New York Times bestselling author of Forever Painless
“For most people, the key to preventing—and relieving—back pain is to simply keep moving, says Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, author of Crooked… An investigative journalist and chronic back pain sufferer herself, Ramin shares what she learned after six years of researching solutions for this common complaint.”
“Crooked weaves together her compelling personal story and those of compatriots in back pain of all ages.”
“This is one of those books where you will keep reading parts aloud to your partner—and sending copies to your loved ones. Don’t miss it.”
— Spirituality and Health Magazine
Ramin, an investigative journalist by trade, published a book in May examining the back pain and spine surgery industries… Crooked is based on… Ramin’s experience managing chronic back pain. She describes spending money on unsuccessful treatments and pairs her personal narrative with statistics and interviews with spine specialists.
— Becker’s Spine Review
“In her book, Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, Ramin exposes the motive behind frightening diagnoses and the influence of pharmaceutical companies. In addition, she shatters assumptions about surgery, chiropractic methods and spinal injections.”
— the Waking Times
“Ramin’s search for better treatments, paired with four decades as an investigative journalist, resulted in her latest book, Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery. The book’s conclusions are a sweeping indictment of a $100 billion industry.”
“Ramin’s new book, Crooked, pulls back the curtain on the back pain industry and provides strategies for navigating the plethora of treatment options.”
— KQED Radio
“Herself a back pain sufferer, [Ramin] chronicles her odyssey, touching on virtually every option, conventional and alternative, for back pain.”
— Ronald Hoffman, MD, Intelligent Medicine