Description: This book covers, as the title indicates, uncommon pain syndromes. It is described as an atlas for its color illustrations and radiologic images. The author's perspective is clinical, as he is a pain specialist and professor of anesthesiology.
Purpose: The author confines himself to uncommon pain syndromes (called "zebras" in the preface). Even though it is obviously debatable whether a specific syndrome is uncommon or not, and even though it may have been worthwhile to discuss uncommon manifestations of common pain syndromes, this is an interesting and clinically relevant undertaking.
Audience: The book seems to be written for all physicians encountering patients with pain therefore for every clinician, from general practitioners to physicians in different subspecialties. Its appeal to academicians may be minimal due to the fact that there are no references (even though the book indicates a review of some relevant literature).
Features: The book offers a good and relatively concise review of many uncommon pain syndromes, divided in sections based on body regions. Pain is an interdisciplinary specialty, and it is obviously hard to satisfy all specialty readers in every respect. From a neurological perspective, one misses certain (rare to very rare) syndromes such as exertional headache, hemicrania continua, and low pressure headache (the latter syndrome, which is of increasing interest, is only covered in the context of postpuncture headache). Unfortunately (or wisely?), the author does not discuss hotly debated topics such as complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, or late whiplash syndrome. The color illustrations are often instructive, but their aesthetic value is debatable.
Assessment: This atlas is already valuable to the clinician, but it could be significantly improved by including references, by covering common pain syndromes (and their uncommon manifestations), and by advice or contributions from subspecialty physicians.