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Starred Review. Imagine a "terror that surpasses all description," novelist Fanny Burney wrote in 1812 after removal of a breast abscess-- without anesthesia. Then imagine such pain stalking you for years, as it does Thernstrom (Raj: The Making of British India) and 70 million other Americans. This is what Thernstrom describes in an exquisite, meticulous history of medicineÖs quest to alleviate pain--from the first use of ether for surgery in 1842 to the modern management of chronic pain: drugs like Neurontin and controversial opioids (though they can make patients even more sensitive to pain); MRIs; and neuroimaging, which trains patients to literally change their own brains. But the personal chronicles lift this accomplished medical history to an astonishing record of courage and endurance. Danielle Parker goes to 85 doctors before finding back pain relief from a chiropractor who urges her to move around instead of reaching for a pill. Thernstrom herself ultimately finds a regime of physical therapy, Botox, Celebrex, Tramadol, and then changes her wish for a pain-free life to one filled with love and family. In these stories, there is a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and hope for the rest of us.
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The Pain Chronicles is a tale of two books: one a broad-brush study of pain throughout the ages in literature, religion, history, art, and philosophy; the other, remarkable insight into the ravages of pain on the individual and the earnest (if hit-and-miss) efforts of modern science to handle chronic pain. An accomplished science writer, Thernstrom neatly balances her own story within the larger context, dividing the book into sections on pain as metaphor, history, disease, narrative, and perception. Some critics found Thernstrom's close-up work less effective than the history. "While her physical descriptions are often precise," Robin Romm writes, "she frequently blurs the boundary between romantic and physical pain, to sometimes melodramatic effect." Others commented that Thernstrom gives short shrift to Eastern medicine. Still, critics agree that the book is engaging and passionate. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I bought this book after a friend recommended it because the author has the same degenerative disc issues I do. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Karen Lynch
It actually had more information than I expected. I enjoyed it, and learned a few things from it. I'm taking it to work to let others take a look at it. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Elizabeth A. Fitzgerald
This is one I have recommended to ALL of my docs and any nurse or PA who will listen. Chronic pain is often written iff as hypochondia, or docs just get frustrated when they cannot... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Just me
Unusual nonfiction book combining personal experience/journals/memoir-ish stuff and serious, solid, yet easy to read research. Read morePublished 19 months ago by C. Sanderson
I was teaching high school English in the mid 1980s when I broke up a violent student fight, and after an agonizing weekend I saw a doctor who told me I had four ruptured, or... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Brian Driver
Required reading for anyone with a pain disorder or for anyone with a loved one with a pain disorder it is very helpful in understanding a disease that is very hard to understand... Read morePublished 23 months ago by neil l
Beautifully written, well researched, and speaking from experience. Any one with chronic pain would perhaps find a voice after reading this book. Read morePublished on July 25, 2013 by Carol S. Wright