Did it happen when you were engaged in a standard daily activity, like brushing your teeth, emptying the dishwasher or carrying a couple of bags of groceries? If the answer to that question is yes, it is safe to presume that you have not been seriously harmed, and — no matter how appealing it seems — you should not retreat to your couch or bed and wait to feel better. The spine is not a fragile body part, no matter what many stakeholders in the back pain industry would have us believe. For more on this topic, you’ll want to read what Harvard psychologist Ronald Siegel has to say in Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery’s chapter 9, “Head Case.”
I’ve been an investigative reporter for four decades, but nine years ago, when I began to search for a solution to my own persistent back pain, I was as naive as any other patient. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this area of healthcare was especially rife with problems. The more I dug, the more I found, much of it absolutely startling. That’s why I decided to write Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, which is being published this week.
First, a little background and a shameless plug. I’ve spent most of the last seven years writing Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery. The book is a hybrid, combining deep investigative reporting with a personal narrative, charting my journey as I find my way from disability to function. In the process, I learned a great deal about how treating chronic back pain, which afflicts about 70 million Americans annually, came to cost $100 billion each year. That makes it a legitimate public health crisis.
Well, it was a long time in coming — six years, conservatively — but I’m happy to announce that the book formerly known as The Fragile Column, and now (more accurately) titled Crooked, will be published by HarperCollins in April 2017.