[Excerpt] This book considers what we know about treatments for back pain and asks a number of critical questions.
Are some of the most popular treatments really effective? Do they “cure” or even improve the problems they claim to address? If some back pain treatments are ineffective or even harmful, why do patients clamor for them and doctors provide them?
Who benefits from the vast back pain industry that’s developed over the past thirty years? Is it patients? Or the doctors, hospitals, and manufacturers that produce the technology of back pain therapy?
What does all this say about our medical system? Or our efforts to enhance quality, improve safety, and reduce health care costs?
How can patients maneuver to help themselves rather than help the medical industry? Will efforts to measure patient satisfaction help deliver safer and more effective treatments or encourage the opposite?
In answering these questions, this book does more than describe and analyze the back business. It also explores the complex ways that doctors interact with patients, drug companies, and medical device makers. The results can inadvertently lead to treatments that are ineffective or even harmful.