The Painful TruthWhat Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us

The Painful TruthWhat Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us

Lynn Webster

Print publication date: Nov 2016

ISBN: 9780190659721

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

The Painful Truth describes the personal and social implications of living with chronic pain and paints a picture of how society can do a better job of helping people who are in pain. In Part 1, the author-a former president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine-tells in-depth stories about some of his patients, using each story to focus on a key issue that frequently surfaces in the lives of people who have pain. The value of a positive attitude, the way that pain combines with other things going on in a person’s life, the reality of prejudice, the risk of becoming addicted to opioids, the power of love, the possibility of leveraging faith for healing, the burden and necessity of caregiving, and the need to be active in managing and making decisions for one’s own life-these are issues that come out in the stories. In Part 2, Webster talks about the issue of pain on a societal level. He faces head-on the thorny decisions involved in the use of opioids to treat chronic pain. Finally he argues that we need a cultural transformation to increase the acceptance of people who are in pain and to mobilize society’s resources to find cures for pain and make them available to all who need them. The Painful Truth, while intended for laypeople, is also helpful to medical professionals and policymakers.