SCIENCES

An Anatomy of Pain: How the Body and the Mind Experience and Endure Physical Suffering

Scribner. Feb. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781982160982. $28. MED
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With rare exceptions, most humans experience pain. Lalkhen, an anesthesiologist and pain specialist, says that an understanding of the physical and psychological causes of pain and available therapies can help individuals better cope with their own pain and that of others. He first explains the physiological and chemical mechanisms that cause pain, then briefly traces how it was understood and addressed throughout history. Discussions of the pros and cons of current treatments lead to his conclusion that while the how and why of pain are now understood, the care of those suffering from chronic or unexplained pain is too limited. He sufficiently describes his own evolution in thinking and treatment choices, and outlines how a multidisciplinary, structured approach to those with chronic pain is used in his clinic, where standard therapies are combined with an emphasis on the psychological and social needs of patients, some of whom will need help their entire lives.
VERDICT Clearly intended primarily for pain sufferers and those supporting them, the book provides appropriately detailed and understandable information while also offering suggestions practitioners should consider.

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