As our understanding of the mechanisms of the brain and nervous system that underlie the conscious experience of pain has increased over the past 60 years, so too has the field of pain management. What began as almost exclusively the domain of anaesthetists has become multidisciplinary, and now comprises many other specialisms including neurology, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.
This spate of activity has been paralleled by a similar growth in research: in neurophysiology, psychology and pharmacology as well as clinical medicine. Simultaneously, the pharmaceutical industry has spent billions of pounds and dollars in the search for better drugs for relieving pain.
This ground-breaking book is compiled by former contributors to The Special Interest Group for Philosophy and Ethics of the British Pain Society. The issues discussed include facing the frequently unsatisfactory relief of chronic pain, the inadequacy of scientific biomedicine in offering answers, and ethical problems arising in pain medicine.
‘Suffering cannot be found in a laboratory test or imaging study; it is only observable by communicating with the sufferer. The eleven chapters in this book approach this conundrum from vastly different perspectives, some highly personal and others broadly social. Issues such as the interface between the physician and the pharmaceutical industry are also presented. Each chapter describes a facet of the problems of suffering and some of the available paths to recovery.’
John D Loeser in the Foreword
This book is about the meaning that prolonged pain has for those who suffer it, something which, for most of us, is a quite unmapped territory...these essays are very illuminating. They cast a really useful and informative light on a vast and important subject.
Mary Midgley in Pain News
- The tao of pain
- Suffering and choice
- Questions of pain
- Bundling with big pharma
- What are pain clinics for?
- Management of the difficult patient in the pain clinic
- Exploiting the placebo response: culpable deception or a neglected path in the search for healing?
- Prostituting pain
- Recovery from alcoholism and other addictions
- Learning to accept suffering
Peter Wemyss-Gorman, retired Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath
Foreword by John D Loeser, Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, and former Director, Multidisciplinary Pain Center, University of Washington Medical Center