Friday, October 30, 2009

Book Review: Low Back Disorders

Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation. 2nd Edition. Stuart McGill, PhD. Human Kinetics, 2007. 312 pages. 

Dr. Stuart McGill and his immense research based out of the University of Waterloo, Ontario can be summarized in this 2nd edition of Low Back Disorders.  Although, the back is often seen as complex by many health professions alike, Dr. McGill’s book helps to put things into a perspective which is easy to understand. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1- “Scientific Foundation”, part 2- “Injury Prevention” and part 3- “Low Back Rehabilitation”. 

Although deemed to be the driest aspect of the book, the “Scientific Foundation” section helps set forth groundwork in understanding the low back. Here, the reader can grasp the concept of whom, how, and why people develop back problems so frequently. With his thorough evidence-based knowledge, McGill sets the record straight on the myths and realities of low back disorders. However, despite the validity in these concepts, much of section 1 can be eliminated for the common clinician who doesn’t want to be overwhelmed in the details of research and lab instrumentation.

The “Injury Prevention” section provides light at the end of the tunnel when assessing common risk for low back injuries in chapters 8 and 9. Here clinicians are provided with knowledge that can be recommended to almost every patient. Although ergonomics is not the cause in every patients back problem, McGill helps evaluate multiple scenarios to minimize forces and injury to the spine. 

The most appealing part of the book is found in section 3 Low Back Rehabilitation. Rehabilitating the spine is often one of the greater challenges when handling problems of the low back. This section provides great exercises that can be implemented for the most common sufferer of low back pain. Furthermore, McGill provides readers with an array of tools and tests that can help clinicians determine which patients are in need of these exercises. This section alone is worth the money and time spent in reading the book. 

This book is an important read for any health professional that deals with the low back. Although 312 pages of research and science can appear daunting, this book saves many clinicians the ample time it takes to research and understand the back. However, there is much more to understanding a patient's back pain and many factors have to be considered. It should be advised that Low Back Disorders should be used as a stepping stone in comprehending what a patient is experiencing and not to be deemed the complete guide in low back health. The book also tends to saturate many of the key points which can be simplified into a few pages. Constantly, referring back to itself in past and future settings the book appears to drag on leaving the reader at times uninterested. 

In comparison, to the 1st edition not much more is amplified as it is stated in the book. More recent research is referenced, and there are additional photos and information provided, however nothing that appears to make the book significantly more valuable.  The 2nd edition simply updates points which were already stated to be important in the 1st edition. With this being said, the 1st edition can be just as valuable to the curriculum as the 2nd. However, no matter which edition, Low Back Disorders can be recommended to enhance the insight of any clinician, scientist, or student in tackling the issue of low back injuries. Dr. Wayne Button, BSc, D.C

Boyd, K. (2003). Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Canada, 55 (02) DOI: 10.2310/6640.2003.37832

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