Patrick Gepner

Backaches Publication date : March 1, 2003

In France, patients give back problems as the most frequent reason for consulting a medical practitioner. It is estimated today that 80 per cent of adults in France have suffered or will some day suffer from vertebral pain.
The perennial backache is a popular cover story in the press, not so much because the problem is so widespread, but because of its complexity. It is more difficult to treat backache than high blood pressure or even heart attack, because the causes of backache are multiple (physiological and psychological) and often no “visible” pathology can be detected. (For example, in certain cases of spinal anomalies patients suffer no back pain; yet there are patients who suffer terrible pain without showing any spinal malformation.) Backache is a major issue because its repercussions on the sufferer’s personal and professional life can be immense.
This book takes fully into account the complexity of back problems. Backaches must be identified before they can be combatted. The chapters flow like so many parts of an “ideal” consultation, allowing patients to express themselves and be heard, to listen to explanations, to confirm the origins of their back problems through tests, and to define a therapeutic programme.
This is not yet another book of recipes against backache (of which there are so many) but a personalised guidebook to enable patients to stop being passive and to become actors in their own cure.

Patrick Gepner was an intern in Paris’ public hospitals. The former head of a private clinic, he is now a hospital practitioner in rheumatology at Hôpital Foch, in Suresnes, near Paris.