Are You Mystified By Your Spine?

100% of survey complete.

Hello -- and thanks for taking the time to read this. Some of you know me as the author of Carved In Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades In Midlife. Others of you have been referred to me as excellent sources for my new book project.

I'm just getting started on The Fragile Column, for Crown/Random House. It's a book about chronic backache and neck pain; that knife you have stuck in your buttocks and the zinging, tingling nerve pain that shoots down your leg or arm.

If you have it, you know what I'm talking about. Chronic back pain interferes with practically every aspect of your life. If you are blissfully pain free, forgive the intrusion. I'd be much obliged if you'd flip this link to a colleague, relative or friend. You won't have to think very hard in order to come up with some good candidates.

Unlike most of the quick-fix literature that's out there, The Fragile Column takes a 30,000 foot view of a public health crisis that threatens to swamp us, surveying the scene from psychosocial, economic and physiological perspectives. Exactly how did we get ourselves in so much trouble?

I think we can help each other here. I'm discovering some extraordinary things in my research. I'm hoping that you'll be kind enough to tell me your "back" stories, whether they're dispiriting or inspirational.

In this brief (five minutes, max) survey, you'll have a chance to fill me in on your situation. If you've got a good story to tell, I'll be in touch in the next few months to gather more information. Talking about it can be cathartic, or so I've been told.

If you participate in the survey, you'll be a member of The Fragile Column's Support Group. That means you'll automatically have access -- through the members-only section of the website -- to important new findings, to be put to use months before the book is published. If I actually use your story in the book, you'll receive a complimentary signed copy, hot off the press.

Once again, thanks for your time. If you'd like to speak with me in person, call 415.710.2479. Or you can email me at I'll respond quickly.

All my best,

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Please try to return your survey before October 31, 2009. Thanks!

* First, I need some basic information.

* Please give me a description of what hurts, how long it's bothered you, and what you've done about it so far.

* Describe how your pain has affected your work, family and social life.

* What would you change about the way you've been treated by health care practitioners?