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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This book on common chronic pain conditions uses lots of images to describe the conditions and their physical findings. The last edition was published in 2008, and this update adds 18 more chapters, covering more diseases and making it more comprehensive. It also comes with access to an online version.
Purpose: It is intended as a quick and handy diagnostic resource for common painful conditions.
Audience: Anyone who sees patients in pain can use this book. It is especially useful for primary care physicians and emergency physicians, and its concise presentation makes it very helpful for anesthesia residents when they are doing their pain rotation. The author is a well-known author in this field.
Features: The book addresses pain conditions by region, dividing the body into 16 areas from head to foot. The focus is mostly on musculoskeletal organs, namely, muscles and joints. In all, the book covers 124 different chronic pain conditions in separate chapters. Each chapter has the same format: a brief overview of the condition; a brief description of typical sign and symptoms; a paragraph outlining laboratory or imaging tests needed for evaluation; a list of possible conditions that can mimic the problem; key elements of management presented in a step-by-step fashion; a discussion of the risks of mismanagement to emphasize the importance of effective evaluation; and a few pearls on how to avoid pitfalls. As an atlas, the book uses lots of illustrations to help convey information, but it still is more of a text than an atlas. Nevertheless, conditions are described quite clearly to make their diagnosis in real life very easy. The format of the book and chapters is so user friendly that any information can be accessed within seconds.
Assessment: There is no other book in the field of pain that comes close to what this one covers. It fills the gaps in the knowledge of pain management for physicians who are not pain specialists. It is a great source of information, especially for primary care and emergency room physicians who tend to see many of these patients before they are seen by pain specialists.