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The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis [Paperback]

Grant Cooper

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Book Description

Jan. 15 2008 A Diamedica Guide to Optimum Wellness
According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions, this book offers a blend of commonsense advice, dietary info, targeted exercise, and tips on useful supplements. According to the author, sufferers can often entirely avoid the use of medication, injection therapy, and surgery - approaches that, when necessary, can be used as an opportunity to return to exercise and nutrition to slow the disease's progress. The book features easy, illustrated exercises, including aerobics and strength training, that can be done at home, at a gym, or under a trainer's or physical therapist's supervision. Nutritional and supplement strategies - including glucosamine and fish oil - are presented in detail, along with suggestions for ways to keep on track. Dr. Cooper not only explores each topic in depth but explains how it fits into an overall holistic treatment program.

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Product Description

About the Author

Grant Cooper, M.D., is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in the care of people with spine, sports, and musculoskeletal problems. He has a special interest in back and joint pain, and has published numerous articles and books in this area. He completed his residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell in New York City, and is currently in the department of orthopedics at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Cooper has received national and international recognition for his research on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. He is the co-editor-in-chief for the journal Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine.

As the host of "Back Pain Radio" (World Talk Radio), Dr. Cooper emphasized the concept that understanding your health problems and what you can do about them empowers people to make lasting changes for a healthier life. This book is intended to help his readers achieve that goal.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Arthritis Handbook Nov. 1 2007
By TheMagus - Published on
As an arthritis sufferer I was delighted to receive a review copy of The Arthritis Handbook which I read over the last couple of days. A slim volume, it is a cornucopia of information and I intend to keep it at hand.

Dr. Grant Cooper has written a concise, clearly understandable guidebook for managing arthritis to achieve the best quality of life. I realized while reading that when I was running fifty miles a week I was doing everything he suggests. The onset of fibromyalgia set me back tremendously but there is no reason I, and anyone who has arthritis, cannot slowly introduce the changes Dr. Cooper enumerates. The brilliance of this book is that, while making arthritis more tolerable, it also will improve your overall health.

The book is divided into five sections. The first is a brief explanation of the workings of your joints and how arthritis develops. The second through fifth are the remedial portions. Dr. Cooper addresses nutrition and his recommendations are in line with those for good health in general. Arthritis sufferers need antioxidants even more than others and there is a list of the most antioxidant-rich foods. Essentially you need to add a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. You also need to add more cold water fish as the omega 3 fatty acids are important. You should limit your red meat consumption. All these and the others mentioned are common sense not just for our health but also for the health of the planet. If, as Dr. Cooper suggests, you begin to adjust your eating habits slowly you CAN reach your goal of a healthier diet.

Part III deals with exercise. Counterintuitively it is important to move the affected joints. Dr. Cooper presents stretching and weight bearing exercises with clear explanations and excellent photographs. As with the dietary changes, slowly incorporating exercise into your daily routine can have great benefit and not just for those who suffer from arthritis.

Part IV covers supplements that may help some arthritis sufferers. Not everyone should take supplements and, as throughout the book, there are caveats and recommendations to discuss any changes you contemplate with your doctor.

Part V broaches the topic of surgery. Hopefully this will be a last resort and Dr. Cooper discusses the various degrees of surgery available to those who find it necessary.

I learned quite a lot from this small book and I have been keeping myself informed as best I can about my various forms of arthritis. I believe I can make some of these changes quite easily since I used to live this way. They are all accessible to anyone, however, and when the book comes out you will want to read it if you suffer from arthritis no matter how debilitating.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for Managing Arthritis Dec 11 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
The Arthritis Handbook is a book that I wish had been available 40 years ago and that I would have been smart enough to follow. Other than folk medicine books, I don't recall much in the way of medical advice for the general public back then. I assumed I would have to follow that path of my elders, that arthritis was a part of aging, and there would be a cane in my future.

Dr. Grant Cooper has written a very accessible book about osteoarthritis, one that has relevance for all age groups. For the young, it provides a plan to minimize one of the probable effects of aging. For seniors, it is a guide to ameliorating the effects of arthritis. One of Cooper's goals is to help the reader make lifestyle changes and the book is written and organized to give the reader the information to make those changes.

In Part I, Dr. Cooper describes how joints work and how arthritis begins. Some readers might be tempted to skip this part and go directly to the chapters that give action plans for the reader to follow. That would be a mistake. That would be a mistake. Knowing how the joints work and how arthritis sets in provides a foundation for the subsequent chapters particularly those describing exercise.

Nutrition is covered in Part II. The advice is not faddish and clearly presented. It might be the most difficult aspect of ones life to modify but the author makes a compelling case and relates the effects of diet to the information on joints and arthritis provided in Part I. Dr. Cooper describes why and how he modified his own eating habits which contributes to the effectiveness of the message that proper nutrition plays a major part in preventing the onset of arthritis and easing the effects of an existing condition.

I had already begun an exercise program as described in Part III before reading this book. Dr. Cooper recommends working with a trainer and I endorse that recommendation. I was going to the gym on my own before I engaged a trainer and was astonished at the ineffectiveness of my approach. It is difficult to effectively exercise based on text and photographs in a book. A trainer will make sure that you are performing the exercises and stretches properly to avoid injury and also make sure that you are exercising and stretching the right areas of the body.

Part IV covers supplements. As with nutrition, Dr. Cooper takes a practical, conservative, and balanced, approach that doesn't stray into exotic, supplement remedies popular in infomercials. He is careful to indicate where the benefits of certain supplements have not been conclusively proven but where there is sufficient reason to believe that they will have some effect. I found his discussions on fish oil and glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate particularly interesting as I was taking those supplements before reading the book. For example, while my fish oil supplement is advertised as containing 1,200 mg of fish oil, it is well short of the recommended amount of EPA/DHA.

The subtitle of the book is The Essential Guide to a Pain-Free, Drug Free Life but he necessarily concludes with a section on medication and surgery. He emphasizes that these options need to be done in conjunction with diet, exercise, and nutritional supplements. An analgesic will mask the pain but do nothing to correct the underlying disease causing the pain.

Dr. Cooper's book is a excellent, readable resource for to establish both a preventative as well as a management program for dealing with arthritis.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, could of had a better title Nov. 6 2007
By Shelli M. O'Steen - Published on
This book is inaccurately titled. Stedman's Medical Dictionary states arthritis is: "inflammation of a joint or a state characterized by inflammation of joints," but this book does not cover the majority of the over 120 types of arthritis that exist. This book only covers osteoarthritis, which the author states is the most common. If you have osteoarthritis and have not kept up to date with current complementary medicine then this is a good book for you. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, then it is excellent. The best part of this book is the author's clear explanations of how you can alter the course of this debilitating disease. There is some repetition of exercises due to the way the author chose to organize his material, providing recommendations for those with disease of the knee and hip. This book would benefit those formally diagnosed with osteoarthritis and those who have known injuries to joints that are likely to predispose them to developing osteoarthritis.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Grant Cooper is an excellent writer and a masterful teacher. June 29 2008
By Rachel Smith Manrique - Published on
Dr. Grant Cooper is an excellent writer and a masterful teacher. His book is better at making arthritis understandable than, for example, Arthritis for Dummies. Furthermore, it is shorter and more readable than the "Dummies" title.

Dr. Cooper spells out all the key concepts in the first chapters; he goes into detail later.

The sections on nutrition, dietary supplements and exercise are particularly strong. Pages 95-107 are devoted to specific exercises, with photos. I wish Dr. Cooper had included some aquatic exercises in this section but I think I understand why he didn't. He stresses that the best exercises are the ones people will actually do.

Exercises that can be done at home are certainly the most convenient. Still, I think the next edition of The Arthritis Handbook should be expanded to include specific aquatic exercises, illustrated by line drawings.

I recommend The Arthritis Handbook as an excellent "first book" for arthritic patients. You'll learn, for example, why your joints are so stiff upon getting out of bed in the morning, why a good diet and regular exercise are so important and what causes the pain and inflammation in arthritic joints.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encouragement to Take Charge of Osteoarthritis Jan. 26 2008
By TC Fields - Published on
In the Arthritis Handbook Dr. Cooper presents a take charge approach for individuals suffering with osteoarthritis. His plan focuses on managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis using nutrition, exercise, and dietary supplements, while recommending surgery and medication only when other approaches have failed. I am most impressed that Dr. Cooper recommends complimentary approaches to managing arthritis such as the practice of Tai Chi, which is also endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation.

The book is not a typical arthritis help book - it is peppered with personal and cultural references that are as informative as they are amusing. The book also includes a glossary to help readers understand medical terminology and a list of websites for readers to learn more about osteoarthritis. Overall, the best aspect of the book is that it encourages patients to communicate with healthcare professionals, and notes key times when patients should seek professional advice.

Despite the fact that the information in the book is sound, the book is somewhat disorganized and at times seems to be addressing two separate audiences. Also, I would have liked to have seen a detailed reference list of the studies described in the book. Ultimately these stylistic shortfalls do not detract from the promising message of the book - osteoarthritis can be managed by lifestyle changes that are described in the book.

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