THE PATH TO PAIN CONTROL by Meg Bogin

THE PATH TO PAIN CONTROL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Addressed to sufferers of severe chronic pain, this worthy guide aims to change the perception of pain through awareness exercises--unlike others which concentrate on specific physical pain-relief techniques. The approach stems from Bogin's own experience: at 27, she first underwent the severe pain of a rare blood-vessel-and-muscle disease that she eventually acknowledged would be chronic; by elimininating the non-physical factors involved in everyone's perception of pain, she could reduce her suffering, she found, to the bare minimum caused only by her medical condition. To help readers do the same, Bogin discusses cultural, societal, and gender interpretations of pain, and looks at how individuals may experience and use pain to achieve certain ends (commonly, dependence or avoidance). She then sets out written exercises to enable readers to examine their own perception of pain--by describing how they feel at different times of the day, during different activities, in different company--and thus separate the mental involvement in pain from the physical; with the mental component recognized for what it is, sufferers can expect to find their pain reduced to a manageable level. Bogin supports this promising approach with savvy advice on getting medical help, on personal relationships (asking for help; asking--or not asking--for special consideration), and on the use of commonly-prescribed pain-killers. Nothing is said of the causes or physiology of pain; and though Bogin's ""Pain Emergency Kit"" for short-term, acute pain episodes has directions on relaxation and visualization techniques, these--plus the basics--are more thoroughly covered in Neal Olshan's Power Over Pain Without Drugs (1980). What Bogin presents is the perfect complement: a broad, long-range approach to coping with pain by understanding why we perceive it as we do.

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin