The classic program for relieving back pain, revised and updated with the latest innovations in treating pain and maintaining mobility.
Dr. Vijay Vad’s Back Rx program has helped readers with back pain, joint pain, arthritis, and related conditions for decades, using a clinically proven mind-body regimen to reduce pain and painkiller usage. In this expanded edition, Dr. Vad explores the extraordinary innovations in managing pain to restore health and wellness not only to your back, but to your entire body.
In addition to the stretches that are the touchstone of the program, Back Rx includes new information on
• The best overall eating regimen for back pain sufferers, including new guidance on the science of Intermittent Fasting (IF).
• Exercise, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
• The use of medical marijuana and CBD oil (cannabidiol) to relieve back pain.
• The safest way to use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
• Developments in ergonomics, from furniture to clothes.
• An assessment of the future of back pain relief, including the latest advances in stem cell treatment and electronic stimulation.
• Introduction of the Back Rx app, a powerful self-help tool to enhance compliance and end your pain once and for all.
- This is a clear, comforting, gentle, supportive book, presenting a technique that combines western physical training, yoga “light,” (there’s no Sanskrit here, nor supernatural claims) and elements of Pilates. It’s especially worth noting that this book addresses how to deal with the pain of a recent back injury, rather than just on-going long-term chronic back pain, too. After laying out basic anatomy, causes of back pain, and general recommendations to avoid causing future injury, Dr. Vad provides a stepwise progression of workout routines, escalating in difficulty/effort, and makes patient, slow-paced timeline recommendations for addressing the chronic issues we with back pain suffer.
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.
- Back Rx saved my back. After 1.5 years treatment by chiropractor, I was still in pain from a lateral subluxation of the lower lumbar. I was desperate for relief, and believed I should be able to rehabilitate myself. I was in my early 20’s, and researched yoga at the University library. That’s when I found Dr. Vad’s book “Back Rx”: the secret to ending low-back pain. After several years of practicing Back Rx from the book, I got the video. I rely on Back Rx to loosen up my back whenever it feels tight, and to strengthen my back as preventative care. I will always have to stay disciplined in preventing low-back pain because of the combination of a severe hip dislocation with my back injury, but at least I have the tools to live a completely active and (when practicing Back-Rx) pain-free lifestyle.
- I recently suffered my first real back injury. I spent almost a week on my back completely incapacitated by pain. As soon as I was able to move, I read this book and began doing some of the exercises from it. I found that the exercises had an immediate and very positive effect, first in reducing the pain and now building both strength and flexibility. When I was able to schedule physical therapy, the therapists were happy with my progress and added only a few exercises. My recovery has been very rapid and I’m certain this book played a significant role.
I found the introductory commentary quite helpful in introducing the physiology of the back, describing various causes of pain and remedies, and mapping out the future of my spine as I age. The advice on posture when sneezing or coughing post injury (“lean back, look up!”) was worth the purchase price on its own.
I don’t think there is any “one-size-fits-all” answer to back pain. Workouts need to be tailored to the needs of the individual, and will change over time as injuries heal and muscles strengthen. As such the ideal program will incorporate elements from many different sources. Because this book outlines three different workout regimens — one for during healing, one for during post-trauma recovery, and one for ongoing strengthening — I had a lot of options to help find a workout which works well for me.
I do have a couple of criticisms of the book. The discussion of some of the exercises do not make it entirely clear what muscle group should be affected, which made it a little harder to figure out whether I was doing it right or if I was ready for a more challenging exercise. Also, the book is firmly focused on the lower back (and hips). As a software engineer, I find that I need help with my upper back and neck, and this book does little to help me with that.
I doubt this book will be a single all-encompassing answer to your back-pain prayers. However, I expect it will help most people interested in it in the first place. For me personally, it was a real god-send.