My guest this week is spine specialist and neurosurgeon Dr. Jack Stern, author of Ending Back Pain: 5 Powerful Steps to Diagnose, Understand, and Treat Your Ailing Back (affiliate link). If you or someone you love struggles with back pain at times, which unfortunately is likely to be the case, I think you’ll find this conversation really useful.
I was really interested to hear from Dr. Stern about the psychological and emotional dimension of pain, and how cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful. We also discussed the value of a multimodal approach to treating back pain, the importance of movement, and when to seek a second opinion. Other topics we discussed included:
- The high incidence of back pain in the population
- The parts of the back that are most common centers of back pain
- The role of psychological therapy in treating pain
- My guest’s openness to a wide range of approaches (e.g., acupuncture, Alexander Technique)
- The importance of being an educated consumer of medical care
- The importance of movement for back pain (including a recent issue of Scientific American)
- The role of diet in treating back pain
- The role of stress in back pain
- Ways that our thoughts and emotions can aggravate or perpetuate pain
- Possible links between trauma and chronic pain
Jack Stern, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in spinal surgery. He co-founded Spine Options, one of America’s first facilities committed to nonsurgical care of back and neck pain.
Dr. Stern is on the clinical faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, and has published numerous medical articles. He lives and practices in White Plains, New York.