How the power of knowledge can overcome chronic pain
Chronic pain is the single biggest cause of human suffering. Yet pain that persists for three months or more is often unrelated to any physical injury. So why does it still hurt?
Research over the last few decades shows that many of us — sufferers of chronic pain and health practitioners alike — are victims of a devilish trick of the nervous system. Where we believe that pain has its root in a damaged body, it is the brain that prolongs the hurting long after the body has healed. This leads to hundreds of billions of dollars being spent each year on treatments that sometimes do nothing and sometimes make matters worse.
Paul Biegler, a science journalist and former doctor who has been on his own pain journey, investigates the true source of chronic pain — our brain’s so-called neuroplasticity — and emerging therapies, including cognitive therapy and graded exercise exposure, that take advantage of that same neuroplasticity to rewire the brain and end the suffering. As he knows only too well, this doesn’t mean the pain is all in a person’s head. The pain is real, but its meaning is often misunderstood.
Through conversations with scientists, doctors, and people who have overcome chronic pain, Biegler shines a light on the rigorous new studies — and emotional personal stories — that are changing the way we understand and treat pain. Most importantly, he shows how to take control over persistent pain and truly heal.
‘Biegler’s book is for those who want to understand the history of pain as well as the most recent breakthroughs in treatment … This is an inherently optimistic book: the author delves deep into the positive effect that mental strategies such as hypnosis can have on pain and quality of life. Accordingly, it will be an invaluable resource for people suffering with chronic pain, and will hopefully open up alternative strategies and ultimately give readers hope. People who appreciated Karra Eloff’s The Chronic Pain Couple might find value in Why Does it Still Hurt?.’
REBECCA WHITEHEAD, BOOKS+PUBLISHING