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The Chronic Pain SolutionReview - The Chronic Pain Solution
Your Personal Path to Pain Relief
by James Dillard
Bantam, 2003
Review by Diana Pederson
May 6th 2004 (Volume 8, Issue 19)

The book was divided into five different chapter groups titled:  Understanding Pain, Take Control of Your Treatment, Therapies, The Pain-Control Diet, Painful Conditions, and Special Considerations.  My first reaction was basically, "oh no, this deals with those alternative therapies – not just giving me a pill to stop my pain!"  Obviously, I lean strongly towards the use of drugs to eliminate pain even though I know from experience that they don't work that well.

The first group of chapters deals with Understanding Pain.  I was particularly surprised with the first chapter that presented and debunked the "Six Myths that can Keep You from Healing" since I have believed some of these myths myself!  If you only read one chapter in this book, read chapter 1.  It will open your eyes to the possibility that there are non-medication ways of successfully dealing with chronic pain.  The "Where Does It Hurt?  The New Model of Pain" should be read by every patient and their doctor.  Too often, doctors haven't kept up on the latest theories and are still trying to treat pain based upon the old understanding of how pain originates.

Take Control of Your Treatment is the subject of the next group of chapters.  Here you will learn about evaluating your pain, building a pain-management team and creating your personalized plan for pain control.  One of the features is a pain control chart where you rate your pain on a scale of 0-10 at various times of each day.  You describe your pain, the activities that preceded it, any corrective action you take, and the results of your actions.  I liked the chart of "words that hurt" because it gives me something other than "I hurt" to say to a doctor. Another tactic mentioned is writing a pain diary using the OPQRST method of recording information.  OPQRST stands for:  onset, provokes, quality, radiates, site, and timing.  The author also emphasizes the importance of finding a doctor experienced in pain treatment and developing a personalized plan that may include exercise, diet, and medication for pain control.

The third main subject covers Therapies for pain.  Those discussed include physical therapy (exercise), psychological response to pain, and a diet of supplements shown to lessen pain.  The chapter on Distracting Your Nervous System from Pain was particularly interesting to me.  It made me wonder how I could distract myself from chronic pain from the knee down in both legs.  This is something I would like to talk to a doctor/therapist about.  Other topics such as Energy Healing, Pain Pills and Other Pharaceuticals, and Deep Injections, Implants, and Surgery. 

The most significant subject for me addressed these Painful Conditions:  Headache, Back Pain, Joint Pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Sprains, Strains, And Tendonitis (Repetitive Strain Injuries), Peripheral Neuropathies, Facial, Jaw, And Dental Pain, Pelvic Pain, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, And Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.  One chapter was used for each condition.  Each condition was described with its most important symptoms and probable causes.  Then a list of suggested diagnostic tests for the doctor to request.  Suggested physical therapies are provided with the first choices indicated with a gray shaded arrow.  Those therapies underlined are discussed earlier in the book. 

I live with joint pain, irritable bowel syndrome, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia.  I intend to ask my doctor to refer me to a physical therapist to try some of the recommended therapies.  I am hopeful that some of my chronic pain can be brought under better control than that provided (or perhaps I should say NOT provided) by medication.

The final section of this book discussed Pain Management for Children, Pregnant Women, and the Elderly, Pain and Terminal Illness, "Is There Something I Can Do" And The Lessons of Pain.  The personal stories provided in this section, and throughout the book, show how others have dealt with these circumstances.  Perhaps something they did will help you deal with the same or similar circumstance.

Recommendation

I opened this book with a great deal of hope since I deal with chronic pain from several problems.  I finished it with the strong expectation that some of the ideas presented will help me eliminate some of the chronic pain even if the condition causing the pain cannot be eliminated.

This book is written for the patient and not necessarily the doctor.  Therefore, it is easy to read, has many helpful charts and illustrations, and presents personal testimonies from pain sufferers.  I am sure it will help you deal with your difficult pain conditions.

 

© 2004 Diana Pederson

 

Diana Pederson lives in Lansing, Michigan.


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