Member’s Review

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The War on Pain : How Breakthroughs in the New Field of Pain Medicine Are Turning the Tide Against Suffering
by Scott, Md Fishman, Lisa Berger
Review by Jan Cantle aka GrannyJan
This book endears itself to me by having a chapter heading “the anatomy of ouch”. The author also described arthritis as “the crab grass of pain medicine”. This  seems to sum up the invasive nature of arthritis.The book starts with a very philosophical foreword if it. It is then split into two parts, one analyzing the problems and to the solutions are available at to deal with chronic pain. The main author is a pain specialists. He believes  like Hippocrates, that one should study the patient rather than the disease. The early part of the book has an interesting history of anesthesia and analgesia starting with aspirins this it in 1899 and leading on by way of paracetamol in the 1960s to Ibuprofen in the 1970s and mentions the Cox 2 inhibitors of the late 1990s. I for one had not realized how late in history these medications had been found. There is a clear and interesting section on opiate use explaining that “while many doctors worry about the repercussions of long-term use of morphine drugs, many rheumatologists use them as less risky than a long-term daily doses of many over-the- counter pain relievers.” I hope that at more GPs can be persuaded to this opinion.

The most refreshing thing I found in this book was the attitude that the patient knew best. Pain is what the patient says it is – not what the doctor thinks it might be. I think anymore than one person who would be pleased to find a doctor who believed what they were being told.

The book has one of the best descriptions I have come across of arthritis and its effects. Scott Fishman explains that pain is in the mind – body continue on and has both physical and psychological parts. So, when one is referred to the psychologists it is not because one is going mad but rather to deal with that part of pain that is mainly recognized at by the mind’s eye. This should be done at the same time as dealing with the physical causes of the pain. The case studies in the second half of the book are varied and interesting.

There is a section on alternative  and complementary therapies and their place in pain of management.

This is a book I have enjoyed reading and I have had great difficulty in not quoting a huge chunks of it. I recommend it to all who deal with chronic pain, whether doctors or those being treated.
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Overcoming Arthritis 
by Paul Lam and Judith Horstmann
Review by Jan Cantle aka GrannyJanIf you only buy one book about arthritis, make this the one.

I was given a copy to review for the Arthritis News and was so impressed I went out and bought my own!

Paul Lam is an Australian GP who has arthritis, and devised the Tai Chi for Arthritis programme.  Judith Horstmann is a journalist who specialises in health – and alternative therapy.

The book covers what arthritis is, and gives clear descriptions of the most common types.  The section on drugs is actually very readable.

Diet is covered in depth – the best I have ever seen.  I like the statement that the best ‘arthritis diet’ is the diet that suits you best.

There is also a very clear section on the tai chi with incredibly detailed instructions.Order it from