Back Up

Liam Mannix

Back pain is the one of the world’s greatest public health challenges. It is the leading reason we visit the doctor, the leading reason we take time off work, the biggest cause of disability worldwide. One in 10 people will develop chronic back pain. And rates are growing.

A multi-billion dollar industry exists that claims it can fix back pain — by shrinking discs, melting nerves, cutting spines up and putting them back together. Yet leading experts say that more often than not, all this expensive medicine is making things worse.

Liam Mannix is one of the many who experience back pain, and he takes this as a starting point for this compelling and urgent work of investigative journalism. A theory has emerged, born from cutting-edge neuroscience, that claims back pain often has little to do with the back or the discs or the spine. Instead, back pain is all about the brain. This new science offers new solutions — including, remarkably, evidence that just by teaching people this theory of pain we can reduce it.

Forget everything you think you know about back pain. This book will do your head in, which is exactly what needs to happen. That’s where the answers lie.

- Dr Norman Swan, medical journalist

Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Australia and this book argues that this need not be the case ... Back Up sets the record straight by confronting our current understanding of pain, and chronic pain in particular.

- Ian Harris, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Back Up is an important book for anyone with chronic pain to read. It illustrates how too much medicine is significantly harming patients, rather than helping them. It should be a wake-up call for health professionals and patients.

- Sophie Scott, Adjunct Associate Professor in Science

Paperback & ebook

Liam Mannix

Liam Mannix is a multi-award-winning national science reporter for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as Nine’s other stable of mastheads.

NewSouth Publishing

NewSouth Publishing is the publishing division of UNSW Press Ltd, a leading Australian university press.