HEALTH & MEDICINE

The Brain Behind Pain: Exploring the Mind-Body Connection

Rowman & Littlefield Dec. 2022. 200p. ISBN 9781538172803. $32. MED
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Pain physician Purvez (Managing Chronic Pain in an Age of Addiction) paints a comprehensive picture of the connection between the brain and pain. Purvez has treated patients with chronic pain for more than 20 years and shares his expertise in an accessible and engaging way. Purvez argues that people’s individual responses to pain-management treatments vary significantly, as do individual genetics, thus Western medicine’s current one-treatment-fits-all approach to pain doesn’t work. He’s hopeful that new research will enable people with chronic pain to receive individualized treatment plans and effective therapies that are less addictive than current narcotic drugs. Purvez’s book also contextualizes the issue of pain management by examining humanity’s historical and contemporary understandings of physical pain and analyzing the present-day pain management culture in Western medicine. One chapter to note is the one in which Mudhasir Bashir, a psychiatrist, adds the illuminating perspective that mental illness can influence a person’s perception of pain.
VERDICT Backed by research, which is cited in a comprehensive bibliography, Purvez’s book is highly recommended for clinicians seeking to better understand how to help their patients and for general readers whose own lives have been impacted by pain.
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