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July 21, 1978


JAMA. 1978;240(3):280. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290030098040

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When an author has committed himself to a topic as broad and as complicated as backache, one might expect a voluminous text. Dr Macnab, on the contrary, has chosen to be brief. In just 235 pages, he manages to present a working classification of back disorders and to guide the reader through the principles of examination and management of the more commonly encountered back problems.

The chapter presenting the techniques of a proper examination is excellent, and those chapters describing the problems of disk degeneration with and without nerve-root compression are welcome simplifications of much confused and misrepresented topics. Soft-tissue lesions such as strains, fibrositis, and tenonitis are less clearly handled. The management techniques suggested are generally accepted and reflect the author's years of clinical experience. Descriptions of surgical technique are purposely scant. However, the proper role and timing of operative intervention is well defined.

This is not a comprehensive