Yvonne DiVita of Lipsticking and A-ha! has asked me to provide an "Average Jane's" perspective on one of her publishing company's new books, Know Your Bones - Making Sense of Arthritis Medicine by Stephanie E. Siegrist, M.D.
Know Your Bones is divided into self-contained chapters that explain what causes arthritis pain, what various medicines and remedies do to ease the pain, and what risks are associated with each remedy. There are handy charts for comparing dosages and costs between different brands and varieties of medications, salves and supplements.
The book is designed to give arthritis patients an easily understood, comprehensive guide to treatment options. In her introduction, Dr. Siegrist says, "You and your doctor can only spend a few minutes together; what will you do to help yourself in the weeks between these brief appointments?"
The first chapter covers the anatomical aspects of arthritis and much of this information pops up again in subsequent chapters. It seems repetitive on a complete read-through, but for someone who is researching a single medication or other topic within the book, it is clearly valuable to have the whole story spelled out in each chapter.
Dr. Siegrist's writing style is conversational and peppered with metaphors to explain some of the more esoteric medical concepts. For example, "The rough surfaces within the joint act like a match head on flint. Imagine a wobbly knee where every step causes the jagged surfaces to rub together, igniting a little fire. The fire is the inflammation of painful arthritis."
I'm not sure I quite understood what arthritis was before I read this book, but now I have a much clearer grasp of it. I have some grandparents with arthritis, so there's a chance I'll need to know this information someday.
The majority of the book is given over to discussions of various arthritis treatments, including over-the-counter and prescription medications, topical pain relievers, nutritional supplements, injections and surgery. Despite the book's focus on medical treatments, Dr. Siegrist constantly urges the reader to make overall wellness, nutrition, exercise and healthy body weight important priorities.
The newness of the book means that it takes into account last year's much-publicized withdrawal of Vioxx® from the market. The book's explanation of the study results and FDA decisions are matter-of-fact and stand in contrast to the excitable media coverage that the story received at the time.
I think anyone with osteoarthritis could benefit from the information in this book. The newly-diagnosed would find a detailed overview of all of their treatment options; someone who has been dealing with arthritis for a while may learn of some new remedies that could complement his or her existing treatments.
It would be nice to see books like this on other medical topics. If there had been a "Know Your Blood Sugar" book available when my husband was diagnosed with diabetes, I think we'd have been on better footing to start changing his diet and coping with the treatments.