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Book review: “End Back and Neck Pain”

End Back & Neck Pain by Vincent Fortanasce, David Gutkind, and Robert G. Watkins
Community Health Education Ctr RD771.B217 F67 2012 Non-circulating

Reviewed by Sharnice Atkinson, Community Health Education Center Intern

End Back & Neck Pain states “Spinal pain is the second most common reason for a medical office visit and the most common reason for emergency room consultations in the United States totaling 6 million visits per year.”  This book was written to explain what can cause back and neck pain and what you can do to end the pain.  The authors start out the book with a spine pain test in order to evaluate the pain and to give advice on whether you should see a specialist and/or seek therapy.  Part one of the book titled “Why Does It Hurt?” discusses the common causes of spinal pain and what age group and lifestyles are affected by these conditions.  Also, this section gives information on how certain types of injuries cause certain types of pain.  For example, nerve radicular pain is identified because the pain usually associated with this is a stabbing, electric shock and/or tingling sensation that radiates along the nerve path.

Part two titled “Helping Yourself” shows the reader what they can do to ease the back or neck pain, such as wearing a lumbar corset or icing the area.  Chapter four of this book contains trunk stabilization exercises that help to improve posture and reduce pain.   Examples of exercises mentioned in this chapter are bracing with arm flexion, bridging and seated arm lift.  Other exercises this chapter contains are isometric exercises, which are exercises that are done without weights and without putting force across a joint.  Lifestyle choices such as eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and having the ability to manage stress are important in the alleviation of spinal pain.  Body mechanic techniques is another topic in this section, which shows the reader proper body mechanics in order to reduce pain and unwanted spinal forces during daily and work-related activities.  In chapter seven, the authors discuss how the positioning of your workstation, your posture at the workstation, and the techniques that you use while working can affect your ability to stay symptom free.  They explain movements that can cause pain such as overreaching at a computer workstation, using incorrect heights for things such as chairs and having an unbalanced work area.  How to arrange your office space to promote long term comfort is also another topic the authors discuss.

Part three of the book titled “Working with Your Doctor” gives advice on picking the best health care provider that will provide an accurate diagnosis, and that will give you a satisfactory exam.  Also, they mention what will be expected during an examination, how giving your doctor a good history on your pain is key to getting the right diagnosis, and the option of taking medication for spinal pain.  In the last part of the book “Exploring Surgical Options” the authors discuss topics such as getting injections for spinal pain and whether or not getting surgery is right for you.


To view this title, or other health-related books, visit the Community Health Education Center (CHEC).  CHEC is located on the ground floor of the VCUHS Gateway Building on the MCV Campus.

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