Most Helpful First | Newest First
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quiet-spoken criticism of medical indifference,
This review is from: Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps Of The Mind) (Hardcover)Patrick Wall makes it clear from the introduction that at the time he wrote this book, he had a personal interest in pain, suffering from the prostate cancer that was eventually to overcome him. This book is beautifully crafted and definitely not a text-book, though it can fill one with enthusiasm for approaching one (if written by the author!). He deals with pain from several perspectives - the scientist's, the physician's, and the patient's. He quietly destroys the complacent medical assumption that if you can't see the damage, there can't be any REAL pain. Reading this as a doctor both invigorates one and at the same time tugs at your conscience for those occasions when you felt the patient was "over-reacting" or suffering "supra-tentorial overlay" - doctorspeak for "they're imagining it". He clearly shows that pain is not reducible to wiring diagrams, nor is it predictable in its nature or severity. For a patient, this book will help to make sense of those chronic pains for which they are all too often allowed to feel must in some way be "their fault". He discusses some common types of chronic pain as well as the treatments available in specialist centres for their treatment. It is sad that Dr Wall will write no more books such as this, but this, his last work, deserves to become a classic text in the field, as well as being a standard text for all medical students.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pain the last taboo?,
This review is from: Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps Of The Mind) (Paperback)This book gives an excellent overview of pain, its causes, treatments, etc. Most of it may well have been written before, but, usefully, Dr Wall has brought it all together in one book. What was new to me was his, very detailed, discussion of the part that the placebo effect can play in pain relief. Initially, I was quite angry - how dare he suggest that my drugs only work because I believe that they will? - but as he developed his argument and I stopped and listened to what he was saying rather than reacting to what I thought was being said, it made a lot of sense. Add to that his discussions of how people respond to their own pain and to pain in others and, finally, to his thoughts on pain as 'the last taboo' and the consequent lack of funding for research and the general unwillingness even to talk about pain and the result is an excellent book.
Has my pain gone away? No - that was not the writer's intention. Am I better informed about pain - yes. I'd done my homework and knew a fair amount before I opened this book but,at times, Dr Wall looks at pain in a way which I had not met before. His book is well-written and easy to read. It is by turn, informative and uncomfortable, thought-provoking and caring, annoying and comforting. He writes about pain, as many before him have done, as an academic. What is different is that he writes as an academic in pain, one with practical knowledge of what he is writing about - and it shows!.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Reading About Pain,
This review is from: Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps of the Mind) (Hardcover)I was attracted to this book because earlier in my life I had experienced chronic pain for 8 years. The search for relief was ultimately successful, but the path to finding that relief was long and arduous. What I learned in the process didn't help me very much for being able to advise others, so I hoped this book would help.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Pain contains more information about pain than all that I learned in my personal journey. "Any knowledge that brings patients into a clearer appreciation of their condition decreases their anxiety," says the author, Patrick Wall who is a pain researcher and was suffering from pain related to cancer while authoring the book.
Wall's basic point is that pain is related to many different parts of the brain and body, and is affected by our psychology. Little is known about many aspects of pain, and there is little focus on pain relief in medical training or medical research. Wall knows that the fear of pain is often worse than the pain, so he makes the subject amazingly pleasant. I expected to be depressed by reading the book, and felt elated instead as I learned more about the causes of pain.
The book starts up with case histories where people with severe injuries report no initial pain. The reason seems to be that they were still in a survival mode, and surviving concentrated their attention away from the wound and potential pain. Many frequent "mysteries" of pain are also explored like people who have lost limbs and feel pain in the lost part of the limb.
You will also learn about fascinating experiments to identify causes of pain and their relief. The book goes on to discuss the sources of pain, how treatments interact with those sources, and how placebo effects can reduce pain. For example, did you know that pessimistic people report more pain than others? As a result, I learned that it is normal to have some residual pain from my earlier experiences. I need not be concerned that full pain will return. That was a nice relief.
I suspect that you, too, will lose some of the unnecessary sources of your concerns about pain. And that will probably, in turn, reduce the pain you will experience in your future.
While that is happening, you should examine other areas of your life where you fear the worst. That could be a harmful misconception. Why not begin to expect the best instead? Think about it. There may be another placebo effect to help you there also.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recomend reading this book to my patients,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps Of The Mind) (Hardcover)I am an anesthesiologist who treats chronic pain patients in a pain-clinic and since I read this book I offer my difficult and resistant patients this book. There is pain which is a sensation that involves the whole body - the fact that we can not explain ones pain with actual tissue injury does not mean that it is an imaginary one. There are injuries which are supposed to be extremely painful yet the victims express no pain. Pain is a complex phenomenon which involves the whole body and thus needs a holistic treatment. There are a lot of processes occuring with pain signal including metabolic and hormone changes that most people don't know of. Placebo which most patients and doctors regard as a trick to destract the patients has physiological effects and some times is as effective. It is written with humour and many anecdotes which make it an interesting and pleasant book to read.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book which anyone with chronic pain should read.,
This review is from: Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps Of The Mind) (Paperback)As a physiotherapist with (ironically) a spinal condition myself, and having studied Wall's pain-gate theory as an under-graduate, I approached this book with more than a passing interest in the subject matter. I wasn't disappointed. The prose is lucid,well written and the points made are pertinent. Being a practitioner in a profession allied to medicine, and also a patient myself in the not too distant past,I would wholeheartedly agree with Wall that both doctor and the public are usually interested in nothing less than complete cure for medical conditions. The halfway house of symptom relief never seems to get visited. Usually because of the layperson's ignorance regarding their condition and unwillingness to listen to reason or advice; and also because of doctor's (usually orthopaedic consultant's) pig-headedness to pass the buck elsewhere, cowering beneath the excuse they don't have time to listen to patients properly ie. do their job! It's also heartening to see a medic round on some of the mediocre practise within his own profession, and actually give a little credit to those in the professions allied to medicine who do take more than ten seconds to listen to patient's worries and fears. Then again I'm bound to be biased aren't I? Read anyway!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps of the Mind) by Patrick Wall (Paperback - 16 April 2002)
In stock on December 23, 2013