Medicine: Oh, My Aching Back

When a patient walks into a doctor's office with the vague complaint, "I've got a pain in my back," the success or failure of medical treatment often depends on the doctor's first reaction. If he begins by looking past the patient, ignoring his pain and trying to find an interesting disease process, it is probably the fault of his early training. Most medical textbooks are little better than elaborate descriptions of diseases; they consider the patient only incidentally as a vehicle of disease, and his pain only as an aid in diagnosis (and not a very good one at that).

Last week,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!