A Nation in Pain (Hardcover)
Healing Our Biggest Health Problem
Oxford University Press (UK), 9780199837205, 446pp.
Publication Date: January 30, 2014
Out of 315 million Americans, 100 million live in chronic pain. And yet the press has paid more attention to the abuses of pain medications than the astoundingly widespread condition they are intended to treat. Sufferers face unending discomfort or even agony. When chronic pain is inadequately treated, it undermines the body and mind from within, even inducing many to commit suicide. Far more than just a symptom, writes author Judy Foreman, chronic pain is a disease in its own right - the biggest health problem facing America today. In A Nation in Pain, Foreman offers a sweeping, deeply researched account of the chronic pain crisis, from neurobiology to public policy, and presents to practical solutions that are within our grasp today. Drawing on both her personal experience with chronic pain and her background as an award-winning health journalist, she guides us through recent scientific discoveries, including genetic susceptibility to pain; gender disparities in pain conditions and treatments, perhaps linked to estrogen; the problem of undertreated pain in children; the emerging role of the immune system in pain; advances in traditional treatments such as surgery and drugs; and fair-minded assessments of the effectiveness of alternative remedies, including marijuana, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care. The real magic bullet, Foreman writes, is exercise. Though many patients fear it will increase their discomfort, studies show it consistently produces improvement, often dramatic. She also explores the destructive "opioid wars," which have led to a misguided demonization of prescription painkillers. Foreman presents a far-reaching but sensible plan of action, ranging from enhancing pain education in medical schools to reforms of federal policies across the board. For doctors, scientists, policy makers, and especially patients, A Nation in Pain is essential reading.
About the Author
Judy Foreman is a nationally syndicated health columnist who has won more than 50 journalism awards and whose columns have appeared regularly in the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News and other national and international outlets. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College, served in the Peace Corps in Brazil for three years, and received a Master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. From 2000 to 2001, she was a Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. From 2001 to 2004, she was a Lecturer on Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She has also been the host of a weekly, call-in radio show on Healthtalk.com. In 2014 she was the recipient of the American Pain Society's Kathleen M. Foley Journalist Award.