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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This comprehensive textbook covers all aspects of pain including injection techniques. Best of all, it is very well illustrated.
Purpose: It is meant to address the issue of chronic pain in a more practical and clinical fashion. Instead of discussing pain conditions based on organ, it covers the issue of pain by body parts. This makes it unique and more practical even for those who aren't pain specialists.
Audience: Although the book is intended for pain physicians, any physician can use it as a reference. Primary care physicians will find it useful in helping them to manage patients with different pain conditions as well as to decide when to refer patients to a pain clinic. Dr. Waldman already has many books to his credit and each contributing author is an authority in the field.
Features: The two volume set is broadly divided into five sections. The first section covers basic pain physiology, providing a precise and clear concept of pain dynamics in the periphery as well as in the CNS. The second section deals with patient evaluation. Apart from discussing how to evaluate patients clinically, important chapters cover different investigations like MRI, radiology, nuclear scans and EMG/NCS. All chapters are brief, easy to read, to the point, and very well written. The third section covers common pain syndromes like CRPS, sickle cell pain, burn pain, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, and connective tissue disorders. Chapters in the fourth section deal with painful conditions by body part, like head and neck, shoulder, arm/elbow, chest wall, and abdomen. The list is not exhaustive, but it definitely covers all the common conditions. The final section provides technical details for performing different pain procedures, all of which are described in a very methodical and unambiguous way and hence are very helpful. The best part of the book is its appealing look with the extensive illustrations. The quality of the images is very good with needle positions very clear in each of them. There is little, if anything, that is wrong with this book. There may not be a lot of details on one topic or another, but within the confines of its intended objectives, it is a complete pain book. The only thing it may lack is a chapter on chronic use of opioids in nonmalignant pain, an important topic because of the medicolegal implications.
Assessment: There are many pain books out there; some are too small, some are too big, and some have too much basic science. This book has the right mix of everything. It will provide any pain fellow with a broad base of information on which he or she can build.