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.
Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.
Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.
Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.
Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.
Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?
With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.