A complete, up-to-date, and very helpful guide, not fatally damaged by a disordered format. Covered is everything from basic structure and what goes wrong, to when to call the doctor and what he'll do (though anatomy is in the middle of the book, and general care of the back is at the end); and the authors strike a nice balance between the prevention of back problems and caring for those that already exist. On origins: strain on the back is related to the effort involved in an activity, effort which is determined by such things as weight, awkwardness of movement, and repetition of movement. Accordingly, the authors explain how to examine the workplace for back stressors (high desk, low chair, etc.), and how to eliminate them; they provide specific instructions for carrying luggage, doing housework, moving an unconscious person, and more. When an attack of back pain does occur, they advise rest and heat (use a hot water bottle in bed, rather than a hot bath where you might get stuck); and if folk remedges or commercial preparations help, they say, use them--provided they have no ""curious"" effects. If, finally, a visit to a doctor is called for, there is a full description of diagnostic techniques and what an exam will entail. Chronic back pain sufferers will find sympathetic recognition of the emotional pressure they may undergo, along with an explanation of the interaction between intensity of pain and anxiety about other problems; specific help from psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker may be indicated. The authors recognize the value of new (pain clinics) or non-traditional (acupuncture) therapies, and include a sound series of exercises, from which a program can be put together according to individual needs. A good, basic primer, understandable and thorough.