- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (August 15, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780231120067
- ISBN-13: 978-0231120067
- ASIN: 0231120060
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,853,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps of the Mind) 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Wall (The Challenge of Pain), a professor of physiology at St. Thomas's Hospital Medical School (London), presents an alternative to the traditional theory of pain. Earlier theorists attributed painful sensations to nerve endings that transmitted a message from the spinal column to the brain. Drawing on the latest neurological research, Wall hypothesizes instead that when nerve endings are stimulated by painful sensations, the message is transmitted, but then, the brain analyzes this data to determine the appropriate motor response. One's response to the stimulus is, in part, based on personal history and expectations. According to Wall, this interconnectedness explains why people experience pain differently, and it also accounts for why a strong belief in the efficacy of a placebo may actually reduce an individual's pain. Although he doesn't examine specific conditionsAlike cancer and migrainesAin as much depth as Frank Vertosick does in Why We Hurt: The National History of Pain (Forecasts, May 29), Wall is a sympathetic and thorough writer: he describes the physiology of the nervous system; he explores, philosophically and scientifically, the history of pain and its treatment; and he suggests some improvements to popular medical approaches to pain management, explaining (in detail) the different ways in which pain can be eased. Postoperative patients, for example, deal with their pain better when they are able to regulate their analgesic medication (because control helps them overcome their feelings of physical helplessness). In this generally thoughtful text, Wall offers his belief in the benefit of narcotic medications for cancer patients in pain. B&w illus. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A British neuroscientist and physiologist who has written several books on pain, Wall provides a broad scientific account of the enigma of the brain and specifically its interpretation and use of pain. His book varies from Frank Vertosick's Why We Hurt (LJ 3/15/00) in that Wall fits facts, relevant data, and bizarre pain cases (abrupt injuries, torture, masochism) into an overall body-brain pain theory. Vertosick is a great storyteller who gives his text a more anthropological context. Divided into 11 sections, Wall's text investigates the philosophy of pain, whole body theories, obvious and mysterious causes of pain, and the placebo response to pain. He also provides practical if obvious advice on personal pain and its treatment. Wall is a sage neuroscientist who challenges younger pain researchers and the "new breed of clinicians" to create a contemporary picture of a "subtle multiplexed reactive system" we call the neurological response to pain. Recommended for academic libraries.DRebecca Cress-Ingebo, Fordham Health Sciences Lib., Wright State Univ., Dayton, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Dr. Wall sheds light on so many personal, societal and inherent physiological issues that plague so many people touched by severe chronic pain.
This book covers everything so pointedly, I cannot point to a single one at the risk of demoting others. I have read and re-read this book about five times. It both reduces me to tears and empowers me to believe in myself...it has become my bible to my new life fraught with daunting struggles that each day brings. While I might find myself each day at the bottom of Sisyphus's hill, I also know that each day brings new hope. I must live each day as it may be my last...we all must realize our own immortality.
How rare is a book that makes you feel like each page, each sentence are direct answers to the questions you need answered for your own survival!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Pain contains more information about pain than all that I learned in my personal journey. "Any knowledge that brings patients into a clearer appreciation of their condition decreases their anxiety," says the author, Patrick Wall who is a pain researcher and was suffering from pain related to cancer while authoring the book.
Wall's basic point is that pain is related to many different parts of the brain and body, and is affected by our psychology. Little is known about many aspects of pain, and there is little focus on pain relief in medical training or medical research. Wall knows that the fear of pain is often worse than the pain, so he makes the subject amazingly pleasant. I expected to be depressed by reading the book, and felt elated instead as I learned more about the causes of pain.
The book starts up with case histories where people with severe injuries report no initial pain. The reason seems to be that they were still in a survival mode, and surviving concentrated their attention away from the wound and potential pain. Many frequent "mysteries" of pain are also explored like people who have lost limbs and feel pain in the lost part of the limb.
You will also learn about fascinating experiments to identify causes of pain and their relief. The book goes on to discuss the sources of pain, how treatments interact with those sources, and how placebo effects can reduce pain. For example, did you know that pessimistic people report more pain than others? As a result, I learned that it is normal to have some residual pain from my earlier experiences. I need not be concerned that full pain will return. That was a nice relief.
I suspect that you, too, will lose some of the unnecessary sources of your concerns about pain. And that will probably, in turn, reduce the pain you will experience in your future.
While that is happening, you should examine other areas of your life where you fear the worst. That could be a harmful misconception. Why not begin to expect the best instead? Think about it. There may be another placebo effect to help you there also.