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From The CriticsReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD(University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: Chronic pain is not a sensation, but a state of feeling or emotion not amenable to simple injection or medication, affecting every aspect of a person's life. This book brings home that message. In a series of brief chapters, the authors convincingly articulate their point.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide total care to chronic pain patients. There is a lot of focus on the physical understanding and treatment of pain at the expense of total patient care. This book is about the missing part of patient care - improving understanding and management of pain patients.
Audience: Physicians who treat patients with chronic pain conditions — primary care physicians, neurologists, chronic pain practitioners — are the intended audience.
Features: The book is in fact a series of essays by different authors with different backgrounds covering different aspects of pain. It starts with the multidimensional nature of pain, comprised of neural architecture and psychosocial components. Then it tries to explain suffering and pain behavior that develops with chronic pain. The chapter on the purposes of a pain clinic is a must read for any budding pain physician. The latter half of the book outlines different principles of managing complex pain patients or their complications. Numerous real-life cases of people illustrate aspects of pain management. This is not a textbook of pain. It does not provide any diagnostic or therapeutic tools. It does not have any algorithms for disease management or tables of drug pharmacology. It is a book on what constitutes pain and what it means to treat pain patients in a complete fashion. The book is based mostly on the personal experience and knowledge of the authors who share their views about human pain and suffering.
Assessment: This is not a medical book in a traditional sense, nor is it a hefty book on the psychology of pain. It is not about diagnosing or treating pain disorders, either physical or mental. It is about understanding human pain and suffering, which is what we, as physicians, need to effectively treat a person in pain.