A useful primer for medical practitioners that dispels the mystery surrounding back pain.

Intervertebral Discs and Other Mechanical Disorders of the Lumbar Spine


Lower back pain is taken seriously as a disease symptom by this in-depth medical treatise.

Fernando and Nelson, both professors and specialists in physical therapy, decry a tendency to treat lower back pain as a nonspecific catchall, psychological problem or malingerer’s crutch; they insist that it arises from specific disorders affecting the lumbar vertebrae and that precise diagnosis and targeted therapies are required to effectively treat it. Their thorough, scientifically grounded account starts with an extensive discussion of the anatomy of the lumbar and sacral vertebrae, the shock-absorbing cartilage disks between them, the spinal nerves they protect and the muscles and ligaments—including abdominal muscles—that stabilize the spinal column. They then describe the mechanical processes that can weaken, damage or displace these structures to cause back pain. The latter part of the book comprises a manual for diagnosing pathological conditions, from strains and sprains in muscles and ligaments to damaged and herniated disks and spondylolisthesis. The guide includes detailed instructions, complete with diagrams, on taking patient histories and performing physical exams, as well as tables of key symptoms that permit differential diagnoses. The authors’ conservative treatment approach shies away from surgery in most cases and focuses on noninvasive physical therapies, including heat and icing, exercises, therapeutic positions and traction to relieve disk pressure and nerve compression, along with a few higher-tech therapies like ultrasound, laser therapy and the application of mild electric currents. Stuffed with charts, statistics, citations from medical literature and Latinate terminology, this book is for medical professionals, not self-treating laypeople. The authors address controversies forthrightly and take strong stands against the McKenzie technique and various diagnostic protocols that they regard as inadequate; they issue an “urgent plea” against the use of therapy balls to treat spinal instabilities. Despite the low production values—sketchy line drawings instead of color illustrations—and loose organization of the book, doctors and therapists will find here a clear-headed, comprehensive guide to evaluating and treating the millions of patients who suffer from lumbar ailments.

A useful primer for medical practitioners that dispels the mystery surrounding back pain.

Pub Date: May 12, 2009

ISBN: 978-1440140228

Page Count: 280

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2013

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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