A Nation in Pain : Healing Our Biggest Health Problem
Overview - Out of 315 million Americans, 100 million live in chronic pain. And yet the press has paid more attention to the abuses of pain medications than the astoundingly widespread condition they are intended to treat. Sufferers face unending discomfort or even agony. Read more...
More About A Nation in Pain by Judy Foreman
Out of 315 million Americans, 100 million live in chronic pain. And yet the press has paid more attention to the abuses of pain medications than the astoundingly widespread condition they are intended to treat. Sufferers face unending discomfort or even agony. When chronic pain is inadequately treated, it undermines the body and mind from within, even inducing many to commit suicide. Far more than just a symptom, writes author Judy Foreman, chronic pain is a disease in its own right - the biggest health problem facing America today. In A Nation in Pain, Foreman offers a sweeping, deeply researched account of the chronic pain crisis, from neurobiology to public policy, and presents to practical solutions that are within our grasp today. Drawing on both her personal experience with chronic pain and her background as an award-winning health journalist, she guides us through recent scientific discoveries, including genetic susceptibility to pain; gender disparities in pain conditions and treatments, perhaps linked to estrogen; the problem of undertreated pain in children; the emerging role of the immune system in pain; advances in traditional treatments such as surgery and drugs; and fair-minded assessments of the effectiveness of alternative remedies, including marijuana, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care. The real magic bullet, Foreman writes, is exercise. Though many patients fear it will increase their discomfort, studies show it consistently produces improvement, often dramatic. She also explores the destructive "opioid wars," which have led to a misguided demonization of prescription painkillers. Foreman presents a far-reaching but sensible plan of action, ranging from enhancing pain education in medical schools to reforms of federal policies across the board. For doctors, scientists, policy makers, and especially patients, A Nation in Pain is essential reading.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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The shadow pain casts and the toll it takes on individuals and society are revealed in this remarkable book by nationally syndicated health columnist Foreman, who chronicles the genetics of pain, types of pain receptors, and the effect of hormones and gender on pain and pain relief. Beginning this journey from personal experience with chronic pain, she discusses how pain can be “catastrophized” (leading to an obsessive focus on the pain) or cause depression. Foreman also describes the difficulties in assessing the pain of others and how this, combined with longstanding prejudices from the house of medicine in particular and society in general, influence the administration—or lack of administration—of pain medications. Foreman effectively juxtaposes her portrayal of a society in pain and a national attempt to limit access to adequate pain therapy. As she notes: “people with chronic pain (often older people with no history of substance abuse) can’t get the opioids they need and could probably use responsibly, while street abusers, often young people, get them all too easily.” Whether or not readers agree that the failure to treat pain is “torture by omission,” this work is thoughtful and thought-provoking reading for the medical community, policymakers, and patients, especially in light of the F.D.A’s recent call for tightening regulations in the administering of pain medications. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg. (Feb.)