Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Back Pain: Why Yoga Might Make Me A Better Doctor

I’m a physician trained in sports medicine, and a chronic back pain sufferer. I first injured my back in 2001 when lifting a heavy bag and trying to sling it onto my shoulder. The pain was so severe that I couldn’t get off the floor for three days. I eventually ended up in the ER with an “unremarkable” MRI. The cause of my pain was never explained — all I knew is that I hadn’t herniated any disks.

Years later my back pain still flares up occasionally, and I’ve never really understood how to prevent it or treat it effectively. This has been very embarrassing for me, since I’m supposed to be an expert in this field. But today I finally got some insight into the real cause of my pain — not from a physician or physical therapist, but from a yoga instructor. Read more »

What’s The Most Expensive Medical Condition?

What medical condition costs the U.S. Health system the most in disability and overall costs? If you said heart disease or cancer or pulmonary disease you would be wrong! I would have said one of those myself.

The answer…slow drumroll….is musculoskeletal disease. Yes, 50% of the adult population reported having a disabling musculoskeletal condition in 2008. The expenditures for these problems include the costs of preventive care, the cost of direct care, the cost of care in hospitals, by physicians, therapists and other caregivers. It also includes the loss of productivity. In 2004 it was estimated that the cost of care for musculoskeletal problems was $840 billion. (Hey, isn’t that about equal to the bank bailout?)

What are musculoskeletal conditions? They include that old nemesis: Low back and neck pain. Spine problems are among the most common problems that bring patients for medical care. That’s why the chiropractic industry is booming. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »