We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering | [Melanie Thernstrom]

The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering

Each of us will know physical pain in our lives, but none of us knows when it will come or how long it will stay. Today as much as 10 percent of the population of the United States suffers from chronic pain. It is more widespread, misdiagnosed, and undertreated than any major disease. While recent research has shown that pain produces pathological changes to the brain and spinal cord, many doctors and patients still labor under misguided cultural notions and outdated scientific dogmas.
Regular Price:$20.72
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Each of us will know physical pain in our lives, but none of us knows when it will come or how long it will stay. Today as much as 10 percent of the population of the United States suffers from chronic pain. It is more widespread, misdiagnosed, and undertreated than any major disease. While recent research has shown that pain produces pathological changes to the brain and spinal cord, many doctors and patients still labor under misguided cultural notions and outdated scientific dogmas that prevent proper treatment, to devastating effect.

In The Pain Chronicles, a singular and deeply humane work, Melanie Thernstrom traces conceptions of pain throughout the ages - from ancient Babylonian pain-banishing spells to modern brain imaging - to reveal the elusive, mysterious nature of pain itself. Interweaving first-person reflections on her own battle with chronic pain, incisive reportage from leading-edge pain clinics and medical research, and insights from a wide range of disciplines - science, history, religion, philosophy, anthropology, literature, and art - Thernstrom shows that when dealing with pain we are neither as advanced as we imagine nor as helpless as we may fear.

©2010 Melanie Thernstrom (P)2010 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Thernstrom never flinches in the face of a subject that is easily overlooked or judged by those for whom it is, ironically, too painful. This is stellar work." (Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (116 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (35)
3 star
 (28)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (6)
Overall
4.0 (33 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.1 (34 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (8)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Nathan O'Hara 08-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Informative, well researched and nicely written"

    The Pain Chronicles is one of the best books of any genre that I have read in quite a few years. It captivated me as well as any novel, and informed me about chronic pain in a way that made the issue at once human and scientific. I highly recommend this one, and I am pretty hard to please.

    28 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Frisco, TX, United States 09-07-10
    Mark Frisco, TX, United States 09-07-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great for loved ones of chronic pain sufferers"

    I read the book because my wife has been in pain for several years. While reading this book cannot put me in her shoes, it did give me a better understanding of what being in constant pain does to a person. Moreover, it gave me a much better understanding of the separation between pain perception and injury. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves someone who has chronic pain.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan M 08-23-10
    Alan M 08-23-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great book"

    I am still listening, but I am impressed. I was a little afraid of the book at first because of the nature of the topic, but I am glad I dove in anyway. This book really woke me up to the antiquated attitudes we have about chronic pain. Future generations will be every bit is shocked by how we treat chronic pain patients as we are by past rascism. Think I am being melodramatic or making an inappropriate comparison? Listen for yourself and see if you still feel that way.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Minneapolis, MN, United States 02-28-12
    Sally Minneapolis, MN, United States 02-28-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "In Depth, Broad, yet Personal"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I believe that the authors personal journey with pain enhanced, rather than detracted from the book. Often people don't think they are understood with their chronic pain. Because she had her personal journey as well as her research, she shares simple things which help, and are good to do before a diagnosis, just to prevent things from getting worse.

    She looked at history as well as prevailing attitudes about pain. It shows that they are linked, and stand in the way of being treated. She shared some of the most current ways of proceeding with a treatment plan; shared that while there can be a limited number of things done for chronic pain, treatment is individual in the long run.

    Because of this, we come away knowing that primary care physicians are often ill-equipped to deal with chronic pain.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The underscoring of simple stretching and activity, even walking can have beneficial effect.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The amount of time she spent on the treatment with narcotics.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When she was diagnosed.


    Any additional comments?

    This book may not appeal to everyone. I leant it to a family member who wasn't interested in the history, and there is another reviewer who didn't like the personal part of the story.

    I think it all contributes to the whole. It helps us understand what we are in the middle of, when we are trying to get treated.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Sterling, VA, United States 11-12-11
    Ann Sterling, VA, United States 11-12-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    116
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lots of info! Amazing!"

    I can't begin to describe all that's in this book! The subtitle really sums it up: cures, myths, mysteries, prayers, diaries (which struck me s a really great idea), brain scans, healing (I could only wish!), and "the science of suffering" (which, of course, is not a science at all) - and, as they say on "as seen on TV" ads, "and much much more!!"

    A great deal that's informative, interesting, even philosophical. The outline is a chronicle of the author's own experience with chronic pain, which forms a framework - or "skeleton" might be a more apt metaphor - from which she hangs various forays into different aspects of pain, suffering, pain management, social aspects of pain, history of pain, impact of pain on the execution of one's days and one's life, evolution of pain in a sufferer's life, anatomy/physiology/chemistry of pain, philosophy, all else that is detailed in the aforementioned subtitle, and probably "much much more" not coming to mind at the moment

    The book is elegantly read by Laural Merlington. The intimacy with which she reads the material makes you want to double-check that she is not actually the author.

    There is so much good, usable info here that I want ready access to, that I'm going to get a hard copy of this book. If you have been grappling with pain - chronic pain, cancer pain, whatever form of pain that's plaguing you - please get this book!! You need it!! And I WOULD in fact recommend at least starting with this audio version for an initial reading. And... good luck to you!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Portland, OR, United States 09-17-11
    Karen Portland, OR, United States 09-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    62
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This Book Has Changed My Life..."

    Thank you, Ms. Thernstrom. Your story, and the information you so generously shared has helped me reach a turning point in my battle against chronic pain. Anyone who has experienced living with this disorder can see that you know what you are talking about. I desperately needed this, and have been improving steadily since reading your book. You have my gratitude.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Yao 10-19-10
    Ted Yao 10-19-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "interesting book but marred by self indulgence"

    The author is a New York Times reporter who interweaves the history, culture and medicine of pain with her own failed romance (meets married partner-to-be at the same time she develops chronic pain). The result is she lacks any critical distance about her lovelife, which mars an otherwise interesting account of chronic pain. Her history of medicine shows that conceptions of pain have been continuously re-interpreted; good point, but how many times do you want to hear her announce what an insight this is? I would imagine her editor had a long battle with her and lost.beta inappVoteInfo

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 04-19-12
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 04-19-12 Member Since 2007

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
    262
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    305
    106
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    37
    18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "NOT ENTIRELY UN-USEFUL"

    Being a Chronic pain sufferer myself, I had expectations for this book that may have been to high. From what I remember ( I read this awhile ago now) There were parts that had merit, especially for those that have people in their lives in chronic pain. I think I might read this again,though Im doughtful. Those like me, that are in terrible pain most of the time, like the author(to some degree) are desperate for a book that has a chance in hell of helping them,or at lest ecnoleging their suffering on ANY level . Having said all that....Its the only book there is as far as I know by someone who knows chronic pain on some level. No surprise since being in chronic pain and doing anything.... are polar points of being. Chronic pain is a living hell!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Plymouth, MA, United States 01-14-11
    Paul Plymouth, MA, United States 01-14-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Tedious but informative"

    Only made it through because I suffer from chronic pain, but I deeply appreciated the work that went into it. There are a few insights that have helped me. Never connected with the author/narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.