In 2008, Cathryn Jakobson Ramin was an investigative journalist whose back was killing her. She started trying to book herself for surgery. But then she started learning more, and instead spent six years researching what she now calls the “back pain industry.”
She found that the most commonly-prescribed treatments, including surgery, frequently do not work — and often leave people a lot worse off.
She also learned what does work.
Whenever someone I know says their back is killing them, I send them a link to Ramin’s 2017 book, Crooked: Outwitting the Back-Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery.
One expert Ramin interviewed told her that the treatment of back pain is “just a microcosm of what’s happened in all of medicine. As a rule of thumb, if you pay practitioners to do more stuff, they will do more stuff.”
In this episode we hit the highlights, from the appalling revelations to the hard work required for real recovery.