"The shadow pain casts and the toll it takes on individuals and society are revealed in this remarkable book by nationally syndicated health columnist Foreman, who chronicles the genetics of pain, types of pain receptors, and the effect of hormones and gender on pain and pain relief... this work is thoughtful and thought-provoking reading for the medical community, policymakers, and patients, especially in light of the F.D.A's recent call for tightening regulations in the administering of pain medications." Publishers Weekly starred review
"Finally, a scientific and empathetic book that sensibly sorts out the problems and possibilities of adequately controlling pain. What a relief!" Booklist
"Encyclopedic in scope... Foreman's text underscores the fact that pain really is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon that requires more research. If we continue head-in-the-sand policies, we will remain a nation in pain." Kirkus Reviews
"A Nation in Pain comes to life with people who are dying or who wish they were dying. But Foreman's account goes beyond its emotional appeal and makes some rigorously reported arguments about the failure of the palliative care enterprise in America." The Weekly Standard
"Judy Foreman has provided a masterful chronicle of the commonest of human miseries chronic pain. The author delves into neurobiological mechanisms and notes the failure of our educational system to prepare physicians to deliver adequate care, including the perils of ignoring benefits of non-traditional (non-Western) therapies. This is a book for everyone; scientists and sufferers, physicians and their educators." Joseph B Martin, Lefler Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology and Dean Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
"A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem is an extensive and eye opening look into the world of pain from the heart and soul of someone who understands what it is like to live with pain. Judy Foreman explores the anatomy of pain guiding us through treatments both conventional and unconventional and the debate that many of them ignite. I found it refreshing and honest while making a strong point that we need to do a better job at managing chronic pain." Penney Cowan, Founder, American Chronic Pain Association
"The experience of chronic pain forges new alliances and A Nation in Pain provides insights, knowledge, critiques, questions and comfort for readers be they individuals impacted by pain, those who care for them and those who might benefit from this thoughtful and comprehensive treatise. I am one of those individuals." Philip Pizzo, MD, Former Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine, David and Susan Heckerman Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology
"The great majority of books written on pain in the past decade provide simplistic recipes based on untested remedies. Judy Foreman's new book, A Nation in Pain, attacks the complexity of chronic pain, and thoughtfully provides a realistic approach to optimal pain management. Her research on this topic, including interviews with pain patients and pain scientists, provides a wealth of personal and professional expertise and experience. This book will be a valuable asset to patients, physicians and professional organizations wanting an encyclopedic and unbiased treatise on the very difficult topic of chronic pain." Don L Goldenberg, M.D., Chief of Rheumatology, Newton-Wellesley Hospital; Professor of Medicine, Tufts University
"This is a book that has been waiting to be written. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from chronic, unrelenting pain, yet until now they've had nowhere to turn to understand how pain arises or what to do about it. Whatever the source of pain and there can be many it can come to dominate the sufferer's life and be soul-destroying. Foreman has written a superb analysis of this most distressing of medical conditions. Many people will thank her for it." Marcia Angell, M.D., Senior Lecturer in Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine
"In this book, Judy Foreman, an award-winning health columnist has beautifully narrated the saga of chronic painhow it happens, how far it can go; why it happens, why it happens to you, and why it happens to you more than the others; and why the suffering is often endless... I would recommend this book for everyone: those in pain, those healing pain, those learning pain, and those policing pain relievers (the drugs and the people who prescribe them)."
R. Goyal, British Journal of Anaesthesia
Encyclopedic in scope, this book on chronic pain also tells the personal story of the author, a Boston-based, nationally syndicated health columnist. When she developed chronic neck pain, Foreman's savvy medical background and reporter's skills were little help. She suffered the same stigmatizing it's-all-in-your-head reaction that many chronic pain patients (especially women) experience. Finally, an MRI scan showed the arthritis, bone spurs and sliding vertebrae of her cervical spine that caused her agony. Foreman spent five years interviewing experts, reviewing the literature and talking to patients to summarize what America is doing about pain. The answer? Not much--despite a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science revealing that 100 million Americans live in chronic pain. Foreman cites the report, noting also that medical schools barely touch the subject of pain. She then lays out the anatomy and physiology of pain perception. She debunks myths about women's greater tolerance of pain and infants' lack of feelings of pain. She provides an especially solid chapter on mind-body interactions, discussing the placebo effect, the relationship between pain and depression, and alleviation techniques like meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Then it's on to treatments. Government, health provider and cultural dictates that inhibit the use of opioids or, in the case of government, even allow research on marijuana, get the drubbings they deserve. (It's important to note, however, that opioids provide limited relief for chronic pain.) As for other approaches (drug and nondrug), Foreman discusses benefits and risks and cites multiple clinical trials, some pro, some con, for each treatment. She also extols the benefits of exercise: There's good evidence that it helps for low back pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia. Foreman's text underscores the fact that pain really is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon that requires more research. If we continue head-in-the-sand policies, we will remain a nation in pain.