Why We Hurt

The Natural History of Pain

By Jr. M.D. Vertosick, Frank T.
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151003778, 304pp.)

Publication Date: January 2000

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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As much as we detest pain, it remains curiously indispensable. Medical science still struggles to conquer pain, yet those who feel no pain at all live in great peril. Dr. Frank Vertosick, a practicing neurosurgeon, explores this paradox, using pain as a lens to give insight into how our bodies function. C. S. Lewis called pain God's megaphone: it gets our attention and warns us of danger. Using stories of patients in pain, Dr. Vertosick explains how pain evolved and why it functions the way it does. Beginning with his own battle against severe migraines, he goes on to explain other common pain syndromes-back pain, angina, cancer pain, arthritis, childbirth, and carpal tunnel syndrome. A fine writer and empathic physician, Dr. Vertosick combines the scientific beauty of the bestselling How We Die with the superb storytelling of Oliver Sacks. He gives us a mixture of medicine, history, anthropology, drama, inspiration, and practical advice. For people in pain, as Dr. Vertosick explains so well, knowledge is often the first, and best, analgesic.

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