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Publisher's Summary

Chronic pain affects one in three Americans and exerts more than a $600 billion drain on the economy annually. It is the largest invisible epidemic in the land. Having treated thousands of patients with chronic pain - often when they were at their most vulnerable - Lynn R. Webster, MD, continues to believe there is hope. Ultimately, a cure for pain will require more research, better therapies, and improved policies. But healing can begin today with a broad-based approach to treatment, including compassionate support from those closest to the ones who are hurting.

The Painful Truth is an intimate collection of stories about people living with disabling pain, their attempts to heal, and the challenges that we collectively face in helping them live meaningful lives. As a physician who has treated people with chronic pain for more than 30 years, Dr. Webster reveals the difficulties that patients face in dealing with chronic pain in a society that is often shamefully prejudiced against those who are most in need of our empathy. He shares how such biases also affect medical professionals who treat patients with chronic pain.

©2015 Lynn R. Webster, MD (P)2016 Lynn R. Webster, MD

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Great Insight

I wasn't sure I would like this book, since I've been dealing with chronic pain for almost 3 years now. The stigma associated with chronic pain and pain management is horrible. I have people in my family that are addicted to opioids and their stories are similar to one of the football players mentioned in the book. I understand the need to get the opiate issue under control, but at the same time, it makes it difficult for those of us with chronic pain who aren't abusing the medication.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JOYCE
  • WILLIAMSTOWN, MA, United States
  • 02-01-18

Excellent description of the current state of chronic pain care.

“Opioid crisis” has become a fear driven media and DEA hysteria driving the treatment of patients in chronic pain. Cancer patients do not face the stigma that chronic pain patients face thus they are allowed whatever medications will relieve their suffering. Pain caused by torture, broken bones, nerve injuries, migraines, cancer, traumatic injury or disc disease is PAIN. Pain is not divisible into acceptable cancer pain versus all other unacceptable pain.

This book makes this point painfully clear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Pros and cons to this book

I feel very divided by this book.

My first thought was who’s the target audience? Not someone well along the path of chronic pain, because these long stories that focus on a person with horrendous (usually) pain (back pain more than any other type) aren’t particularly helpful, except maybe to make some people relieved that they aren't THAT bad off. Most stories don’t end with “no more pain” but a reduction in pain—if the person works hard at trying everything under the sun. Reduction rather than cure is realistic but to spend so long with a character who is suffering so much and generally their story ends…not that well. Though there was the marriage story but then again there was the suicide story.

The author, a doctor (now retired) who started his own pain clinic in Utah, seems entirely reasonable on the subject of opioids. They are necessary for many, but be responsible. It’s pretty pathetic that decent pain management doctors are investigated unjustly and have become afraid to prescribe for fear of prosecution. I’m really tired of the government trying to protect us from ourselves (or our doctors) because some people cannot use their pain medication responsibly.

I felt like the whole book was tinged with religion, sometimes explicit (a character is Mormon and I heard rather more than I wanted to about being Christ-like, eternal marriage—or whatever it’s called—etc. I’m not Mormon and not Christian, and I’d rather avoid too much Christianity.) Sometimes the “tinge” was implicit. It’s Utah, most people featured are white, middle class, married, lots of kids—and even more grandchildren, somehow can survive on disability (which says to me: lots of family members chipping in, because nobody can live on SSI). Yeah, there was the Black man but he was an evangelical Christian. See former note on that subject.

What I felt were two of the main messages:
1. Quit stigmatizing people in chronic pain.
2. You need a couple people in your life who are truly understanding and supportive.

Unfortunately, chronic pain sufferers are stigmatized as the author notes. And while saying how necessary it is to have a couple people in your life who can really be there for you, he basically says you’re lucky if you DO actually have a couple of people since most people won’t really be able to deal or see beyond your pain and limitations. Though Webster does touch on grieving the loss of who you were, what you could do in the past and can’t do now, more emphasis on that subject would have been helpful.

I suppose this is why I feel so divided about this book. It didn’t really know what it wanted to be. It wasn’t really self-help. It was “the state of chronic pain in the US today.” It was sort of “here’s what your doctor is going through when s/he tries to help you” (fear of prosecution or being stripped of your license to practice medicine). It was about addiction to opioids while at the same time saying they are necessary when one actually needs to function and earn a living (which should be a no-brainer but apparently this needs to be explained to an ignorant population), faith can be helpful if you’re a believer, and a bunch of other things. I’m not sure that these very long, detailed stories about the chronic pain suffers served…whatever the main point was supposed to be.

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The Painful Truth

Rick Adamson does a splendid job of narrating my book. I want to thank him for projecting the appropriate voice on a difficult topic.

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Understanding all sides of the matter. good read.

I wish everyone would read this.. He truly has compassion for folks.. very good book..

0 of 1 people found this review helpful