One of my favorite qualities of Alaskans is their fierce independence and ability to thrive under harsh conditions. Sometimes this means working in areas where your immediate access to healthcare may be limited, or your benefits have been maxed out. Thus, if you suffer from acute back pain, shoulder discomfort, or chronic aches and pains that you just haven’t addressed yet, you are tempted to look into the rabbit hole of Google. Now don’t get me wrong, I will not be one of those clinicians who rolls their eyes at Google. I am pretty sure we all use it as an immediate resource. For me, it reminds me of going to the old card catalog system in the library to look up possible reference books (well that just dated me greatly). And with people starting to utilize Google Scholar, it can be a fantastic tool for helping educate clients on the pros and cons of their specific concerns. But sometimes the information can be overwhelming and you need something a bit more concrete to help you delve through the information overload.
So for client self care, I often fall back to books. Yes, books. The beauty of books is that you do not have to have internet, electricity, etc for immediate access. You simply need the book. So for some of the best self care books with current (to their time of printing) information I can recommend, read below.
Stuart McGill, PhD is a world renowned expert in the lumbar spine. He has taken his technical clinical and professional expertise and provided the core information in books you can readily find on Amazon or his website BackFitPro.com to help address many of even complex low back pain issues. I have them all, and you will find my copies rainbow colored in highlighted quotes and sticky notes reference tabs. I use his advanced techniques with clients successfully and with my own back issues due to acute injury to return to work in days instead of weeks or months, and return to weight training and Highland Games competition painfree.
Back Mechanic (2017): will guide you through self assessment then teach specific exercises like the McGill Big 3 matched to your specific pain. Some technical reading, but this is his entry level book. (Perfect starter book into Dr. McGill’s plan, and comes with code to access 100 minutes of videos online)
Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance (6th Edition, 2017): gives the latest scientific evidence on back pain exercise-what helps, and what hurts, and why. This book (and dvd or online video streaming through vimeo) is far more technical, but is an excellent progression to Back Mechanic.
Gift of Injury, by Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll: Looking for inspiration combined with technical back pain addressment? This book is written from both points of view, the injured athlete (international champion powerlifter, Brian Carroll) and his clinician, Dr. Stuart McGill. They take you through the gut wrenching honesty of Brian’s life with lifting and back injury complications and his recovery process and eventual return to full world class competition.
Kelly Starrett, PT, DPT has become well known through his clinical expertise in the Crossfit athlete. He applies his clinical physical therapy knowledge to athletes and provides a book that you might find in many PT clinics and coaching/training gyms around the world.
Becoming a Supple Leopard (2nd Edition, 2015: the Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. This book is another of my well read, page tabbed, go-to resources for excellent pictures, instructions, and easy to follow protocols in the back for reference.
Susan M. Love, MD is an author, researcher, surgeon, and mother. She is the Chief Visionary Officer of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, a Clinical Professor of Surgery at UCLA, and a founder of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Another well dogeared book on my clinical bookshelf, she has gone through 6 Editions of her top rated book over the last 25 years to provide expertise to the advancing diagnostics and treatment options and honest considerations for those affected by breast cancer.
Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book (fully updated and revised 6th edition): For twenty-five years, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book has been the go-to resource for those diagnosed with breast cancer, caring for a friend or family member, or interested in being up to date on the disease. This fully revised sixth edition explains the biology behind the clinical options.