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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: Part of the Oxford Handbook series, this is a pocket-sized, comprehensive overview of treatment modalities for the management of acute and chronic pain conditions. What stands out about this book is the breadth of information it covers in a truly pocket-sized format.
Purpose: It is meant to be quick source of information for anyone involved in pain management, including therapists, nurses, and physicians. Since good pain management involves a multidisciplinary approach by many healthcare providers other than physicians, it is extremely important that all therapeutic modalities are represented in one book.
Audience: This handy book has a great deal of basic and clinical information and is well suited for all physicians who are not trained as pain specialists as well as for medical students and residents who wish to improve their understanding of pain management. Anesthesia residents will find this book quite helpful on their pain rotation.
Features: It is full of useful clinical information and leaves no topic uncovered in its two sections. The first deals with acute pain while the second one covers chronic pain. Both sections have the same format, first covering basic physiology, neuroanatomy, and pharmacology as well the clinical evaluation of pain patients. This is followed by a long list of different clinical pain scenarios, each of which is discussed as a separate entity, from epidemiology to clinical features to evidence-based management. The chronic pain section covers neuromodulation and surgical pain therapies and presents basic information on physical therapy modalities and psychological intervention as they relate to chronic pain management. Every topic is covered in its entirety from incidence to diagnosis to management. When discussing management, the book reviews all available options from medications to injection therapies, as well as their effectiveness. Despite the extent of information, every topic is covered succinctly in few pages. This is a brilliant effort considering the extent of the information and the brevity of the book.
Assessment: There are numerous handbooks of pain on the market, but this is a true handbook as it neatly fits in a pocket. It has all the information one needs to get orientation on a painful condition — every painful condition I could think of is covered. It is a must read for trainee physicians no matter their specialty.