Pain: The Fifth Vital Sign
A compulsively readable explorer’s journal of the hidden territory of pain, as profound and insightful as the work of Oliver Sacks and Sherwin Nuland.
A bee sting on the lips was the tiny lance that set Marni Jackson off on a four-year exploration of the many ways in which we suffer. Exiled for an afternoon in the country called pain, she realized that no one had the words to describe her condition although it was as familiar as a headache. A fusion of emotion, nerve and memory, pain inspired only questions.
“Why do we still distinguish between mental pain and physical pain,” she asks, “when pain is always an emotional experience? Why is pain so poorly understood, especially in a century of self-scrutiny? Hasn’t anyone noticed the embarrassing fact that science is about to clone a human being but still can’t cure the pain of a bad back?” North Americans spend $24 billion a year on pain relief while chronic pain is on the rise. If pain is the reason why most people visit the doctor, why are most doctors so bad at addressing the problem of suffering?
Pain: The Fifth Vital Sign dives back into the history of pain and forward into the possibilities of pain genetics, bringing us stories of both people in pain and the pain pioneers: eccentrics and artists, wrestlers and writers, ministers and mothers, psychologists and philosophers, nurses and doctors. Marni Jackson has created a definitive, heartfelt, funny and beguiling portrait of a condition we can’t live with — and can’t live without.
Inside Chronic Pain: An Intimate and Critical Account by Lous Heshusius.
"With Lous Heshusius as a guide, pain patients can learn much about the perils of a modern health-care odyssey. Health professionals can learn how an articulate middle-class female white patient thinks (with all that thinking entails) when her world is irreversibly altered by pain. She does not promise happy endings. Chronic pain is like that. From the rare intersection in this text between patient narrative and physician response, however, readers may construct a dialogue on pain in our time that cannot fail to bring plentiful opportunities for personal insight and professional enlightenment."-from the Foreword by David B. Morris
Chronic pain, which affects 70 million people in the United States alone-more than diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined-is a major public health issue that remains poorly understood both within the health care system and by those closest to the people it afflicts. This book examines the experience of pain in ways that could significantly improve how patients and practitioners deal with pain. It is the first volume of a new collection of titles within the acclaimed Culture and Politics of Health Care Work series called How Patients Think, intended to give voice to the concerns of patients about their own medical care and the formulation of health policy.
Since surviving a near-fatal car accident, Lous Heshusius has suffered from chronic pain for more than a decade, forcing her to give up her career as a professor of education. Inside Chronic Pain, based in part on the pain journal Heshusius keeps, is a stunning memoir of a life lived in constant pain as well as an insightful and often critical account of the inadequacies of the health care system-from physicians to hospitals and health insurance companies-to understand chronic pain and treat those who suffer from it. Through her own frequently frustrating experiences, she shows how health care providers often ignore, deny, or incorrectly treat chronic pain at immense cost to both the patient and the health care system. She also offers cogent suggestions on improving the quality and outcome of chronic pain care and management, using her encounters with exceptional medical professionals as models.
Inside Chronic Pain deals with pain's dramatic and destructive effects on one's sense of self and identity. It chronicles the chaos that takes place, the paralyzing effect of severe pain, the changes in personality that ensue, and the corrosive effects of severe pain on the ability to attend to day-to-day tasks. It describes how one's social life falls apart and isolation takes over. It also relates moments of happiness and beauty and describes how rooting the self in the present is crucial in managing pain.
A unique feature of Inside Chronic Pain is the clinical commentary by Dr. Scott M. Fishman, president of the American Pain Foundation. Fishman has long tried to improve the lives of patients like Heshusius. His medical perspective on her very human narrative will help physicians and other clinicians better understand and treat patients with chronic pain.
The Pain Chronicles
The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering
Each of us will know physical pain in our lives, but none of us knows when it will come or how long it will stay. Today as much as 10 percent of the population of the United States suffers from chronic pain. It is more widespread, misdiagnosed, and undertreated than any major disease. While recent research has shown that pain produces pathological changes to the brain and spinal cord, many doctors and patients still labor under misguided cultural notions and outdated scientific dogmas that prevent proper treatment, to devastating effect.
In The Pain Chronicles, a singular and deeply humane work, Melanie Thernstrom traces conceptions of pain throughout the ages—from ancient Babylonian pain-banishing spells to modern brain imaging—to reveal the elusive, mysterious nature of pain itself. Interweaving first-person reflections on her own battle with chronic pain, incisive reportage from leading-edge pain clinics and medical research, and insights from a wide range of disciplines—science, history, religion, philosophy, anthropology, literature, and art—Thernstrom shows that when dealing with pain we are neither as advanced as we imagine nor as helpless as we may fear.
Both a personal meditation and an intellectual exploration, The Pain Chronicles illuminates and makes sense of the all-too-human experience of pain—and confronts with extraordinary grace and empathy its peculiar traits, its harrowing effects, and its various antidotes.
The Brain That Changes Itself
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science [Paperback]
An astonishing new science called "neuroplasticity" is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
Painful Yarns, written by Dr. Lorimer Moseley, is a compilation of hilarious stories and images intended to help explain the complexity of pain. These stories, while entertaining, are used as metaphors to explain key aspects of the biology of pain. 'Painful Yarns' is a perfect pre-read for 'Explain Pain'.
Explain Pain by David Butler and Dr. Lorimer Moseley is an evidence based book designed for therapists, patients and students. It answers the most common questions asked by pain sufferers: 'why do I hurt?' and 'what can I do for my pain?' Written in simple language that anyone can understand, it encourages patients to move better and research shows that they will have less pain once they have understood its underlying causes.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.