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Got Back Pain? Join The Club

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain. (WolfBlur via Pixabay)
According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain. (WolfBlur via Pixabay)

With guest host Sacha Pfeiffer

Tiger Woods and Golden State coach Steve Kerr and so many of the rest of us know the curse of back pain. We look at cures, from cutting-edge to tried-and-true.

It’s some of the most debilitating chronic pain a person can have: lingering back pain. Some estimates say nearly 30 percent of all US adults suffer from it each year. But finding a cure is maddening. And surgery often isn’t the solution. Medicine, exercise, acupuncture, a chiropractor, meditation – different doctors may recommend them all. This hour On Point: the curse of back pain and the ongoing search for a fix. — Sacha Pfeiffer

Guests

Kevin Blackistone, sports columnist at the Washington Post. Panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn. Sports journalism professor at the University of Maryland. ( @ProfBlackistone)

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, author of “Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery.” Investigative reporter for the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine Forbes, “O” and more. ( @cjramin)

Carol Hartigan, medical director of the Spine Center and the Spine Rehabilitation Program at New England Baptist Hospital. Assistant clinical professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

From The Reading List

Bleacher Report: Tiger Woods Says DUI Arrest Was ‘Unexpected Reaction’ to Pain Medication — “Woods is widely considered one of the greatest golfers in history, but back problems have plagued him in recent years. He underwent surgery in April to address pain in his back and leg and missed the entire 2016 PGA schedule with health problems.”

Wall Street Journal: The Medical Riddle of Steve Kerr’s Back Pain — “The Golden State Warriors had recently won the 2015 NBA championship when their coach found himself in excruciating pain. It became so bad that Mr. Kerr struggled to walk. He decided to undergo surgery to repair a ruptured disk. Now he regrets it.”

KQED: How the Back Pain Industry is Taking Patients for a Dangerous Ride — “For the majority of us, it’s not a question of whether we’ll someday experience back pain; it’s a question of when. But searching for solutions can lead sufferers into an expensive and sometimes dangerous maze of ineffectual treatments, procedures and pills, as journalist and investigative reporter Cathryn Jakobson Ramin found.”

 

Read An Excerpt From “Crooked”

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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