Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the
Road to Recovery.
By Cathryn Jakobson Ramin.
May 2017. 448p. Harper, $27.99 (9780062641786); e-book (9780062641809). 610.
Investigative reporter Ramin interviewed 600 people over the
course of six years for this thoroughly reported ;rst-person take on
the back-pain industry. Her overall message? Buyer beware! “
Remember that every stakeholder wants and needs your business.” Back
pain costs the country $100 billion a year. How did this happen?
For starters, adults in the U.S. typically spend nearly nine hours a
day in a seated position, and this sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for
trouble. People who end up with back pain often fail to embrace
inexpensive, noninvasive treatments, such as doing physical therapy
exercises at home. Instead, they turn to costly spinal-fusion surgeries
and “cutting-edge” procedures advertised online and on TV. Some
people overuse pain medications, ending up hooked on opioids.
;is 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. In one of the longest list of names ever to
appear in an acknowledgments section, Ramin thanks her dog. ;e
pooch’s insistence on walks every two hours, Ramin writes, helped
save her back. —Karen Springen
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body.
By Jessamyn Stanley.
Apr. 2017. 224p. illus. Workman, paper, $16.95 (9780761193111). 613.7.
Stanley, who ;rst found a community of fellow yogis, and then
a whole bunch of followers (281,000 and counting) on Instagram,
addresses anyone who’s ever felt too fat, too old, too short, too self-conscious, or just too intimidated to attempt the popular practice
of yoga. She discusses yoga’s history, the eight-limbed path (in a section titled “What the fuck is the eight-limbed path?”), the di;erent
types of yoga, and the gear and props yogis really need, before going into step-by-step instructions for practice and poses, complete
with helpful photographs of herself and others. Stanley incorporates
her own stories: of her “long and digni;ed lineage of proud, black,
curvy women” and her gathering from teen magazines that “society’s
agreed-upon vision of beauty . . . didn’t have jack shit to do with
[her]”; of a wake-up call about her drinking; of loving herself with
or without a partner. Stanley’s playful tone and personal, approachable advice provide a warm welcome to her historical, technical, and
altogether di;erent guide to yoga. —Annie Bostrom
The Insulin Express: One Backpack, Five Continents, and the
Diabetes Diagnosis That Changed Everything.
By Oren Liebermann.
May 2017. 224p. illus. Skyhorse, $24.99 (9781510718487); e-book (9781510718494).
CNN correspondent Liebermann and his wife, Cassie, knew that
Living with Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically
they would face challenges and new experiences on their year-long
trip around the world. Hiking in the Himalayas? Sure. Trying exotic
cuisine? Of course. A type 1 diabetes diagnosis? ;at was not in the
travel plan. ;eir excursions in Europe and Africa go smoothly, but
by the time they reach Asia, Liebermann’s mysterious symptoms be-
gin to appear: extreme weight loss, unquenchable thirst, and fatigue.
Finally, on the brink of disaster, he receives an explanation in rural
Nepal. Adult-onset type 1 diabetes is uncommon, and Liebermann
;ghts to regain control of his body. Determined to ;nish his and his
wife’s planned year of travel, he must learn to navigate his disease. ;is
unusual combination of medical and travel memoir o;ers candid testi-
mony to human resilience. It also manages to be funny, relatable, and
inspiring at the same time. Readers will be motivated to update their
passports or, at the very least, try something new. Liebermann hits the
mark with his engrossing literary debut. —Patricia Smith
and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis.
By Vicki A. Jackson and others.
May 2017. 368p. Johns Hopkins, $55 (9781421422329); paper, $22.95
(9781421422336); e-book (9781421422343). 616.99.
;is reassuring guide for cancer patients and their families clearly explains just about everything they would want to know about
diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life. With coauthor Seaton,
Massachusetts General physicians Jackson and Ryan describe this
complicated disease in easy-to-understand ways. ;ey do a nice job
of tackling tough-to-ask questions and address issues many will not
have thought to ask about, including the fact that most doctors advise wearing a condom after chemotherapy to avoid passing along
any chemicals to a partner. ;ey tuck in basics, like the potential side
e;ects of chemotherapy and pain-reducing opioids, and they even
manage to weave in a little humor (not the norm in a cancer book),
sharing an anecdote about a patient who asks at each appointment
if it’s OK for him to buy green bananas. ;ey cover the usual coping strategies (gratitude, prayer), but they also tuck in some o;beat
ones. Feeling short of breath? Among the common-sense solutions
they suggest is, sit in front of a fan. An unusually comforting and
genuinely useful resource. —Karen Springen
Medical Catastrophe: Confessions of an Anesthesiologist.
By Ronald W. Dworkin.
2017. 232p. Rowman & Littlefield, $35 (9781442265752); e-book, $34.99
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors at
your doctor’s o;ce or local hospital? ;e medical world is a mystery
to those who don’t work in health care, and Medical Catastrophe
gives readers insight into the harrowing, humorous, and sometimes
dehumanizing world of medicine. Dworkin is a practicing anesthesiologist and political philosophy instructor, and his “confessions”
delve into the sometimes unpleasant truths of hospital politics and
industry standards. Exploring the question of what it means to be
a doctor, Dworkin traces his experiences, from time spent in his
father’s medical practice as a child to his residency training, and,
;nally, as a part-time practitioner. Although the tone can at times
seem self-important, Dworkin addresses key issues facing modern
medicine, including how much autonomy doctors should have and
how to improve practitioners’ quality of life. A solid introduction
to the hidden world of hospital medicine, Medical Catastrophe is
sure to start thought-provoking conversations about complex topics,
Health & Wellness Roundup