When it comes to finding the best books on lower back pain relief the list is rather small. I have been reading, researching and experimenting with lower back pain treatments for years now and it’s frustrating at the lack of sources for the average person to consume to help fight their chronic or acute pain.
Don’t worry though. There are a lot of great Physical Therapists and Physiotherapist who are more than happy to give you their knowledge at a cost. If you find a good one than that cost is usually worth it. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to decent professionals so what are they to do?
Instead of you forking out more money lets do this…
Today, I am going to give you the top 3 books on lower back pain relief. At any point in time, you could pick up any one of these books on treating back pain and apply it to your own pain management and see results. I am that confident in what these resource deliver!
Lets get one thing straight.
This is not your typical book review. I am going to get right to the point on why you need to buy these books and how it’s going to help with your lower back pain specifically.
Reading, researching and putting the back pain treatment techniques to work is like breathing to me. I can’t stress enough to anyone reading this blog that you can’t just consume content and brush it off like you don’t have the time to do it or that it wont work for you. You never know until you try.
Unfortunately, there is a large group of people that go through certain treatments or self healing practices that never see real relief simply because they were not confident in the treatment or they never stuck with it long enough. I really aim to change that in the back pain industry.
The pain management industry was severely lacking professionals who were willing to take the time and create content for the people suffering with lower back pain. We needed a step by step approach to a number of different options and how to successfully execute each one. Well, this information CAN be found. Not only on this site of course but from some of the most trusted professionals in the industry! Lets check them out (The links in this post are affiliate links that go to help support this site).
What’s this book about?
Hands down, this book will change your life.
This book made it to number one on my list with ease. Back Mechanic was actually just recently released to the masses in hopes of bringing awareness to people who are dealing with lower back pain currently. Not only is Dr. Stuart McGill one of the leading experts in the back pain industry he finally found away to make what is a pretty complicated topic into something you can easily carry around with you.
Back Mechanic uses the years of experience Dr. McGill has in the industry to give you a step by step approach to fixing your lower back pain. If you are somebody who is tired of generic printouts your physio keeps giving you this is the book for you. You have complete power over your recovery and almost seems like your being treating from Dr. McGill himself!
How can you actually use this?
Dr. McGill breaks the book up into 4 parts. Each part addresses a different aspect to either diagnosing, treating or strengthening your lower back.
Part I: This is more of an intro section where he talks about topics like lower back pain myths, spine hygiene basics and learning to understand why your back hurts.
Part II: This section talks about using Dr. Stuart McGills personal approach to finding your pain triggers and giving your back a solid assessment.
Part III: This entire section goes into great detail on how your going to repair your back. From fixing poor movement habits, de-sensatizing your back to promote repair, specific core training for back pain and more. This section alone is worth the money spent on getting this book. BUT each section builds on each other leading you to the ultimate recovery plan.
Part IV: This section goes into fine tuning your program and taking each area of your recovery to the next level.
What I liked the most:
You wont find better.
When it comes to books on treating back pain there really isn’t any that I have found that compares. For someone who is so based on science, McGill was able to formulate a way to make reading this book not only informative but easy to read and supper practical.
The types of people who are reading this book are all over the board. From the average joe or jane to elite athletes. So the book has to be very versatile in its approach to dealing with the complex issues of lower back pain.
My favorite thing about this book is that it shows you how to diagnose your own pain triggers. Something that seems so complicated, Dr. McGill has made it super easy and able to be done by anyone as long as you read the book carefully and do exactly what he says. This book is literally a step by step tutorial at helping to beat one of the biggest most widely dealt with issue in the world.
What I don’t like about it:
There isn’t much I don’t like about Back Mechanic. I think with any book on treating lower back pain there is always a disconnect between you and the author simply because it’s a book not a real life session with them in person. You may come across a random little question you have that would be super easy to ask if you were face to face but you can’t. Not being able to ask these questions may leave you second guessing or doubting your ability to find a solution on your own.
The other tough thing would be ensuring that your form is perfect. The key to de-sensatizing your lower back is to take the pain triggers out and to re-groove healthy movement patterns. Well, if your by yourself with no knowledgeable coach or a mirror to look into, there really isn’t any other way to make sure your doing it with the right form. This is defintely an obstacle but can easily be overcome using some of the ques Dr. McGill gives you in the book.
What’s this book about?
What’s worse than smoking?
Sitting, that’s what. It’s a slow killer that people are thinking they need more of since there backs are hurting more and more. Inactivity is actually the worst thing for a bad back. Americans need to fight kicking and screaming to change the way our employers view our health and well being on the jobsite.
My second best book on treating lower back pain is by my long time mentor (I don’t think he personally knows that haha) Dr. Kelly Starrett. Since I can remember, he has brought humor and practical advice to the fitness industry when it comes to maintaining a healthy pain free body. Dr. Starretts book Deskbound goes into detail about beating the epidemic of sitting in america and exactly how your going to do it.
Kelly doesn’t just spit out info we already know but gives you practical tips on how we can start to beat this slow killer with daily maintenace techniques and fixing basic mechanical issues.
How can you actually use this?
Here’s the deal:
Obviously the book is geared towards getting you out of your chair and doing basic maintenance on your body to keep it fluid and happy. Kelly along with his wife Juliet and partner Glen Cordoza lay this book out full of pictures and simple nuggets of information you can take action with immediately.
The book is broken up into 7 sections that take you on this educational but practical journey learning your body, its functions and the bad habits that we have created over time that are breaking our bodies down. Dr. Starrett addresses lower back pain specifically numerous times through out the book and relates the causes due to cumulative affects of habits such as sitting all day. As you work through the different sections of the book you learn about proper mechanics with standing, posture, sitting, walking the tissues involved and the tools you need to keep these tissues supportive and pain free.
It’s one thing to just talk about what is destroying Americas backs but to give step by step, practical advice with the help of detailed pictures is priceless considering the amount of money we put out in health care and visits every year.
Sneak peak into the goodies!
Section I: Consequences of Poor Posture
Section 2: How to organize and stabilize your spine,hips and shoulders.
Section 3: Moving well: Walking, hinging squatting and stable shoulders.
Section 4: The Dynamic Workstation.
Section 5: Optimizing your Sitting Mechanics
Section 6: Performing basic maintenance on your body
Section 7: Mobility Prescriptions
What I like the most
This book is bridging a major gap.
Lots of books talk about Americas back pain epidemic. They go on about how we move, sit and stand wrong buts is rare to find a source that turns around and shows you how to fix the issues they bring up. Not only that but how to tell whether the way your doing it is right or wrong.
I hadn’t learned a base line of functional movements using the right form and mechanics. When it comes to stabilizing your spine and working on the tissues that help with that, this book does exactly that.
The easy sell for me is the way its organized. It’s a book that you can skip around in and read only the issues your dealing with. You can always read it from cover to cover but if your in any kind of pain you just want relief NOW. Along with the super bright and easy to follow images for each step this book makes it easy to do exactly what Kelly is teaching.
This is also another one of those books that anyone can pick up and read. It’s deep enough to entertain the more advance athlete but simple enough to get the average desk jockey feeling and moving better.
What I don’t like:
Again, with any book on treating back pain there is always a disconnect between you and the author simply because it’s a book. For me personally there are a few things I wish I had him in front of me so that I could ask certain questions on treatments and adjustments to fit my specific situation.
Whenever your trying to venture out on your own and away from the infamous White Coat, there will always be seasons of doubt and uncertainty. That’s why its super important to trust the person who’s content your reading and make sure to take it one step at a time.
There have been countless times where I hit a road block that a book didn’t cover and through simple problem solving and common sense I was able to adjust and continue to see results.
What is it about?
This is the hardest and probably most controversial book I have ever read.
When I say hard, I don’t mean the way the book reads but rather the position the book takes on the lower back pain industry. It was written by a respected doctor by the name of Dr. John Sarno. With years and years of experience treating back pain, his conclusion and go to position on the topic is using the power of the mind to heal your back pain.
Not like voodoo, chanting type mind stuff just the power of thinking and realization of the mind body connection. Dr. Sarno goes into great detail describing specific characteristics of people who typically deal with back pain. It’s crazy how Dr. Sarno can link anything from peoples jobs to personality types and make a connection to why these people deal with chronic pain. Not only that its makes 100% sense.
Remember, this book does NOT simply address the impact of a positive outlook on life. It goes way deeper than that. It really peels back the layers to chronic pain and makes so many things make sense. This book was extremely hard to put down!
How can you actually use this?
I hated it at first.
I personally was this books biggest skeptic. Pain is very real. I can feel it. When I move this way or that way, I can FEEL the pain. It’s with me in the morning and it’s with me after 4 long hours in the yard.
Don’t sit here and tell me that my type A personality and way of thinking about my back pain is whats holding me back from finding relief! That was literally my way of thinking 2 years ago when I picked up this book. Not even 1 chapter in and I was hooked! He was explaining and describing so many things about myself that made so much sense when it came to how I look at my back pain and why it has become such a chronic issue.
A lot of what he talks about has been the building block to the foundation I have laid with my own personal treatment of pain and what I teach.
Just the other day I released an article on Deep Belly Breathing and its impact on lower back pain. When it comes to breathing there are both physical and mental aspects that treat back pain. This technique has been proven both scientifically and with real world results, so you can’t say it doesn’t work.
I remember two very specific life events over the past 3 years where my back pain flare ups were the worst. First one being a stressful job change where I was commuting almost an hour to work one way, every day for money I could barely support my family on. I remember the amount of stress surrounding that season and the amount of pain I was constantly in.
The second and most recent was when my newborn son was at the CHKD NICU for Meconium Asperation for a month. That was the longest and most stressful emotional roller coaster I have ever been on. I remember there was nothing I could do to bring relief to the back pain flare up I was experiencing.
Once these seasons were weathered I started noticing less and less discomfort. Maybe this was just a coincidence but there is a direct connection to the pain we face in our bodies and our minds.
John Sarno is just the catalyst to bring that information in a way that is easily digestible for me and you.
What I liked the most.
This is the thing.
Dr. Sarno doesn’t just throw out a bunch of theories with no real support as to why or how his position actually helps people. Through out the entire book he adds in testimonies from real people who had used the technique he talks about. His book reviews alone are packed with real life testimonies of people who have beaten their chronic pain using his approach.
He supports and gives examples of how the power of the mind on the body is massive. The way you think is directly connected to the way your body will respond. I am a firm believer in repairing damaged tissue, correcting poor movement mechanics, posture and anything else that could be causing you back pain but I am also a believer in the minds roll in ANY recovery process.
I have always said, your back pain relief program has to have a 360 degree approach. Consider all aspects of your life when looking to bring relief to your back pain. When it comes to the mental aspect of chronic pain this is the only source you need. Be careful though, reading this book may result in a better moving, less painful, more positive and happy self. You have been warned.
What I don’t like.
The truth is.
I have a science back ground. I was taught this is what science says and if we want to fix something that is broken we have to look at why it’s broken and repair it accordingly. I look at the body the same way. My disc is ruptured so it makes sense that I have pain from time to time. My goal realistically is to become as pain free as humanly possible.
This requires me to address my posture issues, my nutrition and my body mechanics. I can’t just sit at home and think my way to fixing those things. That is where I drawl the line with my own experience and what I have been taught. I suggest looking at all facets of your life when dealing with pain management. I could never tell someone to just think their way to a pain free body. That may sound contradicting to my support on this book but remember, I support DO support and believe in the mental aspect to pain relief. I just don’t suggest you give up on everything else and just pursue that.
I wish the book would touch on the importance of mechanics and movement but at the end of the day that’s not what the book is about so I will chew up the meat and spit out the bones.
If your like me and the thousands of other readers on this site your not looking for the best doctor to treat your back pain. You want relief now and you want to find it for yourself away from any drugs or surgery. That takes learning and experimenting with your own body. The more you learn the better your approach can be when treating your own back pain. Make sure you learn from the best! Just a reminder, the links above are affiliate links of resources that I personally use and enjoy to get in the hands of as many people as I can. I wouldn’t tell you get anything I personally haven’t used myself.
To your relentless pursuit of back pain relief,