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Pain: The Science of Suffering

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Pain is one of medicine's greatest mysteries. When farmer John Mitson caught his hand in a baler, he cut off his trapped hand and carried it to a neighbor. "Sheer survival and logic" was how he described it. "And strangely, I didn't feel any pain." How can this be? We're taught that pain is a warning message to be heeded at all costs, yet it can switch off in the most agon ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Columbia University Press (first published 1999)
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When I was about 7.5 months pregnant I went back to the UK. I went to see about breathing techniques in labour. The (very rude) lady told me I was too late for the classes and anyway I'd been been breathing since birth so I didn't need to learn it. I asked what she taught. She said distraction techniques. Concentrate on breathing and believe it will take the pain away. She said it worked better if you involved your husband, if you have one. (I told you she was rude).

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Sleepless Dreamer
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't know why I was really curious about this book. As Wall writes, pain is usually a topic people want to steer clear from. However, despite how unpleasant the subject matter is, this book is really fascinating!

What I adored about this book is that it's truly interdisciplinary in the best way. Wall dips his fingers into philosophy when he discusses the connection between body and mind. He brings up research from anthropology to talk about the various cultural responses to pain. He talks abou
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is not a self-help or pain healing book, and as there are so many of those, this book sets itself apart by looking closely at the causes and consequences of pain. It deals with questions like, how does the time lapse (if any) between injury and onset of pain, play into how the body deals with the pain? Wall delves into endorphin response, the placebo effect, shame and embarassment. He also looks at how pain is handled emotionally and physically, internally and externally - between pain ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Pain: The Science of Suffering is the complete title of this book. Written by a physician, but easily digestible by the layperson. Comprehensive and enlightening. (Charlotte, I want this back!)

addendum: Fixed title (it's good to be a librarian!) AND happily welcomed the return of this book by the kind Charlotte, who put it in the mail for me (something I myself am terrible at doing - the lines at these NYC post offices are off-puttingly horrific!). Thanks, friend.
Fatima M. Nabil
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
It was interesting to read a book about pain written by an expert who is also a cancer patient who suffers as he writes about suffering, so professionally.
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Downloaded this as a reference for a research paper I was doing on Phantom Limb Pain and ended up being fascinated with it and couldn't put it down. Read the whole book and was impressed.
David Fore
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're anything like me, you've been looking for a book about the phenomenology, physiology, psychology, and treatment of pain, one written by a medical doctor and researcher who has personal insight into the nature of pain and suffering. "Pain: The Science of Suffering", by Patrick Wall, is such a book. It's a thorough, intelligent, low-key, and compassionate take on the state of pain management in our society.

Wall is decidedly *not* a purveyor of get-pain-free-quick schemes, nor is he the
Patrick Wall, a neurologist and neuroscientist, was one of the great pain researchers of the 20th century and sadly passed away two years after this first published. "Pain: The Science of Suffering" is long out of print unfortunately. I was lucky enough to find it at a second had book store or a book sale. It is an excellent book. Wall has a knack for putting the scientific into clear, readable language, without making it sound paternalistic, or making the reader feel stupid. If you're looking f ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew this would be an interesting book to read and I’m not disappointed. Apart from one chapter that provides in-depth physiology of pain, a layman can easily enjoy and understand the rest of the book without much fundamental/prior knowledge.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting book, bit focused on the medical aspect of pain. For medicine professionals mostly.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it
A bit to hard for my little brain I think. Interesting but a bit heavy going.
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Pain research is where it's at right now! I'm going to try to take a class on chronic pain next semester, this book is GREAT. He developed the spindles theory which fascinates me to no end.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Charlotte by: Kelly?
This book needed to be cut some, but was really interesting.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Most of what's there is good, but it's surprisingly short and a decent chunk of it is a review of high school anatomy.
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