A physician’s approach to managing and working through chronic pain.
Debut author Campbell, a medical doctor, has years of experience working with patients who deal with pain on a daily basis. He asserts that the problem that they face isn’t the pain itself but, rather, their brain’s reaction to what it perceives as a threat; this results in “pain behaviors,” he says, which include “constant reporting of negative detail, a significant reduction in healthy physical activity, and the adoption of pain-relieving postures or protective stances.” These behaviors, in turn, lead to long-term problems, such as hypervigilance, depression, anxiety disorders, and sleep disorders. The goal of his own approach, detailed in this book, is to interrupt the patterns that cause the unhealthy behaviors. He does this by using an “offshoot” of cognitive behavioral therapy called acceptance and commitment therapy, which allows “people to distance themselves sufficiently from negative sentiments so as not to be swamped by them.” His uplifting and positive approach aims to undo behaviors such as pain avoidance, physical inactivity, or the withdrawal from a normal lifestyle and provide alternatives to the prescribing of opioids, antidepressants, and other medications. The author’s prose is clear and endlessly encouraging throughout as he explains his methods: “Reversing that pattern will take time—chronic pain management is somewhat closer to a marathon than a sprint.” His engaging positivity even extends to his judgment of the medical industry’s use of pain scales, which he believes reinforces negativity that only worsens the condition. Sufferers may very well find a promising new angle of attack for the difficulties associated with chronic pain in these pages.
A highly readable and affirmative pain-management guide.