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Doody ReviewsReviewer: Tariq M. Malik, MD (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)
Description: This is an illustrated guide to the physical examination of pain patients commonly seen in a chronic pain clinic. The focus is on the musculoskeletal system and common painful conditions affecting each region are described briefly as clinical entities.
Purpose: The purpose is to bring the focus back to the physical exam part of an evaluation of the pain patient. The author has tried to make the physical exam clearer and simpler to learn by leaning more on images than text. The author is successful in achieving his goal.
Audience: The book is meant for any physician who is involved in evaluating patients with painful musculoskeletal conditions, such as emergency medicine physicians, primary care physicians, and pain specialists. The audience also includes all medical students.
Features: The book's 11 sections cover different joint systems. It starts with the cervical spine and goes all the way to the ankle. Every section has a similar outline, starting with the anatomy of the region, followed by inspection, palpation, and range of motion in different planes for that region or joint, each with its own chapter. This is followed by chapters describing any special tests for that region. A few chapters at the end of a section deal with common clinical conditions related to the region or joint. Every chapter is brief, not more than few pages. The text is supported by a number of pictures, and the descriptions of the tests are clear and simple. The accompanying DVD adds another layer of clarity to the physical exam. The book is unique in its brevity and its clinically-oriented physical exam. It may have omitted a few tests, but including them would have made the book bulky and no different than other books on this subject.
Assessment: This is a nice book on what is in danger of becoming a dying art. This is partly due to the lack of interactive books in the market; available books are too bulky and dry or too brief and lack focus on pain-related conditions. This is an excellent contribution at a basic level to reintroduce the physical exam in a busy pain practice. It is must-read for any pain fellow or resident rotating through a pain or medicine clinic.