CHRONIC PAIN: America's Hidden Epidemic by

CHRONIC PAIN: America's Hidden Epidemic

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Chronic pain is a staggering social and economic problem, almost totally ignored by the American public and a majority of health professionals."" This collection of articles, written by twelve physicians and edited by the director of Emory's Pain Control Center, covers the many dimensions of pain, its elusive physiological mechanisms, emotional factors, and ways--aside from drugs and surgery--of coping. Like Neal in The Politics of Pain (p. 935), they recognize the reality of ""conditioned pain""--patients hold on to sickness as a learned behavior with its own psychological rewards. They also deplore widespread drug abuse and pain produced or made worse by medical treatment. But help is on the way. The most effective chapter, which concerns everyday functioning, comes from S. B. Chyatte, a physician who's partially paralyzed, diabetic, and on dialysis; his no-time-for-regrets advice--keep occupied, don't advertise your suffering, and get some suitable exercise. Others consider common experiences of pain--headaches, chest pains, obesity, cancer--and techniques which may provide some relief: behavioral modification, relaxation, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, acupuncture, nerve blocks. It's less exasperated than Neal's book, centered on accomplishments, and wholly appropriate for a general audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1978
Publisher: Atheneum