- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0190659726
- ISBN-13: 978-0190659721
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 72 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us 1st Edition
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"Dr. Lynn Webster's compassion for people in pain and for pain care makes The Painful Truth a groundbreaking and remarkable book. This book is a first of its kind and needed in the pain awareness movement. Dr. Webster uses true stories and his vast background and experience to remind us why
pain is a reality that cannot be ignored. The Painful Truth will change the way this country thinks about pain, pain management, and those who struggle with pain every day."
--Paul Gileno, founder and president, U.S. Pain Foundation
"The Painful Truth is a unique and important book. Through a series of poignant vignettes, Webster brings into stark relief the modern-day plague of chronic pain-one that kills insidiously and slowly, if not always literally, then most certainly socially, emotionally, and spiritually. This
book is a treasure. Everyone should read it."
--Perry Fine, professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, University of Utah; past president, American Academy of Pain Medicine
"With this book, Webster has drawn back the curtain on the disease of chronic pain that so many Americans suffer with daily while they struggle with a medical system that generally lacks understanding or education to help them. The Painful Truth is an important read for pain patients, family
members of those patients, and perhaps most importantly, the providers who care for pain patients."
--Chester "Trip" Buckenmaier III, MD, Col (ret), MC, USA; Editor-in-Chief, U.S. Medicine
"As someone who works on behalf of people in pain and who also knows what it's like to experience chronic pain, I highly recommend this book. One of the most hope-filled, helpful books on pain I've ever read."
--Janet Favero Chambers, president, National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association
"[The Painful Truth] has the potential to be a 'game changer.' The stories are very powerful."
--Myra J. Christopher, Kathleen M. Foley Chair in Pain and Palliative Care, Center for Practical Bioethics
"This book gives voice to real people who suffer with chronic pain and to their caregivers. With the wisdom and compassion of a seasoned practitioner, he tells their stories. Some are inspirational stories of healing and hope; others depict the disenfranchisement experienced by so many
forced to live with chronic pain; other stories are tragic. We would all do well to heed the call of those forced to live with chronic pain. This excellent book is a very good place to start."
--The Rev. George Anthony Hoeltzel, Episcopal priest, Yonkers, New York
"It is not often that you come across a book written by a physician that is filled with more than good advice; it is filled with compassion and understanding for people with pain. From his early childhood, Lynn Webster understood the torment of pain and the importance of just being there and
accepting the person in spite of his or her pain. His accounts of his patients are heartfelt, and anyone with pain can relate to the struggles he so perceptively tells. Dr. Webster also looks at the real issues we all face when it comes to access to care for the person with pain as well as the
struggles the provider faces in whether or not to treat people with pain in today's climate of opioid prescribing."
--Penney Cowan, founder and executive director, American Chronic Pain Association
"The Painful Truth is an asset for people who deal with pain on a personal level or on a larger scale: people suffering; their loved ones and caregivers; and practitioners of counseling, physical therapy, pharmacy, elder care, and other related professions. Webster avoids jargon in all
medical descriptions so that everyday people can un- derstand. And while every thought is given the level of development it requires, the book is not dense; it's an easy-to-read, smooth mix of story and information.EL The Painful Truth is an invaluable, hope- filled resource for individuals-and
societies-consumed by pain."
"An intelligent, provocative, and inspiring call to arms for those who simply want relief and a return to normalcy."
"From reading this book one can very well see how compassionate Dr. Webster is in caring for his patients during their most difficult moments. This is quite noticeable in his conversations and treat- ments with his patients where he tries to balance realism and their need for hope. This is
an intelligent wake-up call in acknowledg- ing that we are not doing nearly our best to get them the treatment they need and often look at them askance when they try to do their best for themselves within the system as it exists today."
About the Author
Lynn R. Webster, MD, one of the world's leading pain experts, is board certified in anesthesiology, pain medicine, and addiction medicine. He is Vice President of Scientific Affairs for PRA Health Sciences, a leading international medical research organization, the founder of Lifetree Pain Clinic, and a Past President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
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For many years, I have said that we need to put a face on pain – it can affect anyone and, based on the statistics, eventually all of us will be affected by pain in one way or another. As Webster said, “Literally no one can escape pain’s effects.”
The stigma surrounding pain patients is strongly embedded in our society and the only way that I can see to combat it is to put a human face on the problem. Dr. Webster does this brilliantly in Part One of the book by sharing some stories of his patients.
By starting at the beginning of their story—not the beginning of the pain—and sharing so much of what the person’s life was like before pain, he has truly succeeded in putting a face on pain and was able to “call forth the emotions of both hope and unrest—hope because there is much that people in pain can do right now to feel better, unrest because we can’t settle for the status quo.”
Webster describes the book not as a self-help book but as a helpful book. Readers can expect to be drawn into the lives of the patients, caregivers and even gain insight through the eyes of the physician. Whether you are a person living with pain, a caregiver or a healthcare provider, you will come away from this book with a greater understanding of the big picture.
Living with pain, I often feel like others cannot possibly understand what it’s like to walk a day in my shoes, but I believe that this book goes a long way to help depict the impact that pain has on the lives of the patient and their caregivers and loved ones. However, people who live with pain will also get a glimpse into the heart of a truly compassionate doctor who wants to help his patients despite his fears of government scrutiny.
"One of the biggest challenges that people living with pain face is finding such a person. A person in pain needs a doctor who genuinely cares, who sees a person and not just a patient, a cause and not just a case. Then a relationship—one that’s professional and yet profoundly human—may be established to bring about improvement in the patient’s well-being."
So many times pain patients feel like a burden, a hindrance or just another difficult case. It’s easy for us to become jaded by all of the disappointments in the journey to find help for our pain and lose sight that there are many healthcare providers out there who are truly compassionate and are in this field because they want to help.
Thank you, Dr. Webster, for this important reminder.
He doesn’t stop there at just sharing the stories – but shares the different ways that a multi-modal approach to pain care—toward treating the whole person (as he put it, bio-psycho-social-spiritual) can help people living with pain get at least a piece of their lives back and hang on to hope.
After so many years treating pain patients, I’m sure that Dr. Webster could have found dozens of success stories to share–but–that would not be reality. He shares the “painful truth” that some will commit suicide rather than face endless years in pain, marriages will fail, access to necessary care will be limited and, yes, some will become addicted and abuse their medication. These parts were difficult for me to read because part of the stigma we face as pain patients is that we’re all addicts, doctor-shoppers, etc.–all of the horrible labels placed on us by ignorance.
Part Two of the book moves the focus from the individual to society to discuss “the large-scale problems that must be solved if we’re going to make more progress against pain.”
It begins with a very personal look into the life of Dr. Webster himself and the fear that healthcare providers face from the DEA. He makes an excellent point that “no doctor is punished for mistaking a pain patient for a drug abuser and refusing to prescribe pain medications. It’s easier to err on the side of safety.” Well-meaning efforts to address the very real problems of drug abuse and addiction have the unfortunate result of impacting legitimate patients (and health care providers) simply looking to find an effective treatment for this disease.
Webster refers to this as “the chilling effect.”
"It’s changing the way some physicians practice medicine and what treatments they recommend. It’s introducing suspicion and misunderstanding into the patient-physician relationship. It’s making it more difficult for people holding opioid prescriptions to get those prescriptions filled."
He even asks if doctors will soon ask themselves if it’s worth it to treat pain patients.
The “chilling effect” isn’t just something seen in the medical community. Dr. Webster asked some tough questions like:
Why do the deaths of people who overdose on opioids receive so much more attention than the deaths of those who couldn’t stand the pain without their opioid treatment?
Why is the financial motivation of pharmaceutical companies scrutinized while the financial motivations of medical bill payers are overlooked?
Has our society made any progress in relieving pain?
Even as our scientific understanding of pain and how to relieve it continues to improve, are we failing to make progress on delivering care to those who need it when they need it?
One painful fact that is often overlooked–50 percent of all people with chronic pain consider suicide at some point.
Dr. Webster offers three areas that need to change that “stand out above all others.”
We need to…
Ramp up research efforts to discover better therapies for pain
Improve and extend insurance coverage so that people in pain can get the care that’s available
Treat all people in pain with dignity and respect
I hope that anyone taking time to read this will see the need to not just read this book, but to do everything they can to share it with others (social media, write a blog, write a review)—and—help to shed light on this widespread problem in our society.