Live Well With Chronic Pain
by Liza H. Leal, M.D.
This short little book (134 pages) is a great introduction to self management of chronic pain. It is an especially good gift to someone who suddenly finds themselves with a chronic illness or one of the many pain syndromes that afflict 1 in 4 people in America today.
Dr. Leal has chosen to write in a semi-autobiographical style where she relates various milestones and important concepts that she learned on her journey towards managing her own chronic pain. Her personal journey began with her third year in medical school, at which time she quickly developed Rheumatoid Arthritis and in a few short months was unable to walk, due to severe pain.
This unexpected and devastating turn of events led to her casting off victim-hood, learning not only about her disease its treatments, but also on the physical, psychological and social aspects of living with chronic pain. The reader participates in this journey via a short story about “Tom,” a man with migraine headaches and his introduction to the Four Foundations of Pain Management via a weekend seminar.
Her writing style at first comes off as quaint and simple, which it is. However, if the reader will continue reading to the end, the semi-pedantic style and simply sketched characters in the story serve a very good purpose: they communicate to the reader not only the Four Foundations of Pain Management but also demonstrate a very realistic picture of what practical, personal pain management looks like in the setting of a weekend at a resort, ski lodge, beach condo or any other situation that anyone with chronic pain might consider too challenging and consequently avoid.
Tom begins the weekend by wanting to quit and go home due to a migraine headache. By coincidence, he runs into Mary who convinces him to stay and complete the seminar and the rest of the weekend is dedicated to everything from good nutrition, mediation, relaxation, exercise, goal setting and the importance of finding a physician who will work alongside and not merely prescribe pills.
The message of the book is how to live well with chronic pain, not merely how to cope. It is a good first step, especially for people who suddenly find themselves with chronic pain and have become depressed or in despair, not knowing what to do to recover and reinvent themselves in order to live fulfilled, meaningful and successful lives.
It’s an easy read and the writing style really gets the point across, and even if the story is a bit corny and contrived at points it rings true and is effective because the story is an authentic and true story of how the author went from a junkfood eating medical student, to a depressed dropout and then back to an extremely successful doctor, author and leader in the field of pain management.
As a licensed and full time healthcare practitioner who works with people who have chronic pain, I can fully endorse the message of this book! While it does not make any mention of medical cannabis, the author definitely recommends having an open mind, a willingness to try new and alternative methods of pain control and stresses the importance of general health and well being as being the first and most important step to managing chronic pain.
This is a great book and would make an excellent gift for anyone who seems to be withdrawing and growing despondent due to chronic pain.
Author: Liza H. Leal, M.D.
Book Review by: Doc Bud
Publisher: Waterside Publications
Purchase Live Well With Chronic Pain Here: Live Well With Chronic Pain