I realize that this may seem like an odd book to review in a quilting blog, however most of the quilters I know experience some level of pain every day. I live with the pain of herniated disks in my neck, as well as sciatica, so I was curious if this book offered anything new in the world of pain management. When I saw that this book covered arthritis, back and neck conditions, migraines, diabetic neuropathy, and chronic illness — I knew it was worth a read.
Written by two specialists in pain management (Dr. Bradley Galer and Dr. Charles Argoff), the book begins by admitting they’ve seen a lot of bad pain management doctors. In this book, they strive to present information in layman’s terms and to give recommendations for various kinds of pain.
The book begins with seven chapters that cover specific types of pain — back pain, neck pain, arthritis, neuropathic pain, headaches, fibromyalgia and cancer pain. In each chapter, they give specific recommendations for medications and modalities that work. With few exceptions, they recommend active physical therapy where the patient is building muscle strength, not just laying under hot packs and having some gentle stretching. For back and neck pain, they do not recommend surgery for the majority of patients.
Having spent the last two years in pain management, I was very interested in their recommendations for medications. Turns out that I had been on most of them, with varying degrees of success. The section about neck pain says that “nerve blocks are not the answer.” This was my experience after 3 unsuccessful nerve blocks.
For me, the two helpful suggestions from the book were:
1. Patients should do the same amount of activity each day. You do not lay on the couch for two days in pain, then feel better and clean the entire house, and then lay on the couch for two more days. You do a reasonable amount of activity each day regardless of pain level.
2. Yoga is beneficial for pain management.
The second part of the book talks about effective treatments for chronic pain — medications, nerve blocks, physical therapy, and psychological treatments. As I said earlier, the authors recommend active physical therapy, where you are doing more than resting under hot packs and having some gentle stretching. The authors are also encourage readers to seek psychological help concerning pain management.
The third section of the book talks about lab tests for pain, as well as the (significant) role that stress plays in pain management.
This is definitely the best book that I’ve read about pain management. The authors clearly know what they’re talking about. The descriptions about treatments and medications are clear and helpful.
You can read more about this book at Defeat Chronic Pain Now!