The spine might be damaged initially, but it usually heals on its own, the authors assert. After that, stress causes muscle tightness, which results in continued pain. Traditional treatments don't work because they treat the spine, not the stress. The solution: understand your own symptoms and pain, learn to resume full activity, and work with your negative emotions to prevent them from derailing your recuperation.
Part 1 of Back Sense helps you evaluate your own case and determine whether you have warning signs of a serious injury or disease (in which case you must get medical attention), understand the mind-body connection, and examine how stress may be causing your chronic pain. Part 2 teaches you how to bring full physical activity back into your life and manage your negative emotions.
The writers--two of whom relieved chronic back pain with this very program--do not want you to baby your body or limit your life to protect your back. Rather, they contend that "being careful actually appears to be harmful." They explain that "as long as you are trying to get rid of pain, you stay preoccupied with it," creating more tension, and by avoiding "risky" movements, you lose muscle conditioning, making you vulnerable to additional injury. The book takes you through a process of gradually incorporating more exercise and tracking your reactions. The style is simple and friendly, and the book has many plan charts, logs, and other helpful tools.