Specialists estimate that as many as 60 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and approximately 20 percent of the population in most developed countries reports having chronic pain. According to one study, chronic back pain alone afflicts more than 4 million Americans, and nearly 50 percent of these are disabled by it. Pain is the most frequent cause of disability in the United States, with as many as 50 million Americans on short- or long-term disability leave from work at any one time.
As these figures suggest, chronic pain is extremely difficult to treat—it is a complex and baffling phenomenon, poorly understood even in the medical centers devoted to its diagnosis and treatment.
In “Heal the Pain, Comfort the Spirit,” Dorene O’Hara, professor of anesthesiology at New York Medical College and associate professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers University, explores techniques of managing pain developed over her many years of studying, treating and lecturing on chronic pain. She also examines contributions made by other clinical professionals and by practitioners of alternative medicine.
Combining a general survey of the forms of pain therapy with suggestions for how patients can find the most appropriate treatment plan for themselves, the book applies to pain sufferers as well as practitioners.
The American Library Association recently endorsed O’Hara’s work, writing that she “brings scientific and medical points to life in an informative and cogent book for both her medical colleagues and their patients.” “Heal the Pain, Comfort the Spirit” is the latest in a long line of distinguished books on care-giving published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
— University of Pennsylvania Press
Originally published on March 7, 2002