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Back RX: A 15-Minute-a-Day Yoga- and Pilates-Based Program to End Low Back Pain Paperback – January 22, 2004
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“After three months, the results have been striking: 80%… reported that their pain was reduced by at least half”The Wall Street Journal
“[Dr. Vad’s] holistic approach can work for anyone willing to put in just a little time and positive thought.” Ellen Barkin
“[His] innovative research on the professional tennis and golf tours and the practicality of Back Rx make it suitable for professional athletes and weekend warriors, as well as couch potatoes.” Bill Norris, athletic trainer, Association of Tennis Professionals Circuit
“Back Rx has been medically proven to have significant positive effect on low back pain caused by disc pathology.” Don Aspergen, Sports Medicine Division, the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour
About the Author
Vijay Vad, M.D. is a sports medicine physician and researcher specializing in minimally invasive arthritis therapies at the prestigious Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and a professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He is also the physician for the PGA golf tour and the ATP tennis tour.
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It does a surprisingly nice job of integrating western medicine with yoga and Pilates, with a feeling of mutual respect that is not too common, and is greatly appreciated. I'm dinging it one star, though, because it really could be a _special_ book if it managed to provide references to legitimate scientific studies supporting some of the claims. I know it's aimed at the layperson general reader, but since it does have a page dedicated to other resources, why not add a few supporting references? Including just two or three full-detail scientific citations would be a _huge_ boost to its credibility -- and turn it into a five-star, must-give-to-all-friends book... at least for those of us with a STEM degree and experience working in medical research. And, yeah, there's a touch too much "mind body" "follow the breath" and like squishyness for the left-brained cynic, and that may largely be lip service in an effort to combine east and west, but if that brings more readers in, and they subsequently get relief, I can't complain.
Dr. Vad does get points, too, for addressing pseudo-medicine and medicine-adjacent therapies, in a fairer manner than others might, as he lays out alternative paths to pursue relief, if necessary. Case in point: He's nicer about chiropractic quacks than any MD I've met.
If you're anywhere on the spectrum from "dammit! I can't get off the ground this hurts so much," through "man, my back is still kinda bugging me," to "I lost a chunk of 2015 to back pain, but I'm better now," there is help in this book for you. It won't be a magical only answer (we all know we weight loss is the best weapon against back pain, and I'm working on it, as well as some general behavior modification), but it does a very, very nice job of laying out routines along a series of levels of effort, with clear, helpful, simple explanations of how to perform them.
I just wish a few of the bolder claims had citations.
Thank you, Dr. Vad!
So, I bought the book, read it thoroughly, thought its arguments seemed reasonable, and commenced doing the first series of exercises, each night before bed. After a couple months of following these exercises to the best of my ability, I could tell my flexibility was improving, but the pain in my lower back was getting worse. I finally swallowed my pride, went to my doctor, and got a referral to see a physical therapist.
At our first session, I showed him the exercises I had been doing from Back Rx, and he responded with a vehement, "No, no, no, no, no!!!" Turns out, for the specific problems facing my lower back, the exercises in Back Rx were exactly the WRONG thing to do, and were truly aggravating my spine, doing more harm than good.
So, when authors and publishers of self-help books put those disclaimers at the beginning about consulting with your own physician and not holding them responsible for your results, they do so with good reason. I'm glad that so many people have found relief through this treatment plan, but for me, it was not the miraculous path the author believes it is; in fact, it was something I never should have done in the first place. As they say, "Your mileage may vary." Good luck.