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Book Review: Chronic Pain: A Way Out

July 18th, 2012 · No Comments

We know that comprehensive pain treatment gives patients the best results. Less pain and better functioning. Unfortunately there are few integrative pain centers available, and few doctors practice truly bio-psycho-social care on their own. Dr. Stephen Colameco‘s book Chronic Pain: A Way Out, is a wonderful example of a complete pain care program.

Chronic Pain: A Way Out: (Comprehensive Treatment & 12-Step Recovery Guide) [Paperback]

In the first half of the book, there is a thorough and state-of-the-art description of chronic pain. In particular Dr. Colameco explains our new understanding of pain – that chronic pain is located not just where you hurt, e.g. your back in chronic back pain or down your leg in sciatic pain, but is also imprinted in your brain. Colameco then describes what comprehensive care can include:

  • medication
  • surgery or procedures
  • physical therapy
  • psychological skills
  • alternative and complementary treatment

As he is an addiction specialist, Dr. Colameco’s section on opiates and addiction is excellent.

The second half of the book is “the way out.” Rather than getting rid of pain, he describes  how to decrease suffering. This approach is modeled on a 12-step program. Included in this approach is:

  • changing our attitudes to acceptance
  • focusing on living rather than eliminating pain
  • acknowledging that anxiety and depression increase pain
  • focusing on spirituality

The approach Colameco presents is spiritually based, and this will appeal to some and not to others. Overall this book is very strong. It is one of the few patient-oriented books that describes a truly comprehensive treatment program. The sections on psychological skills and an attitude of acceptance are particularly helpful, especially given the book isn’t written by a mental health practitioner. It would be appropriate for those who would welcome a spiritual approach. It can offer a way out of suffering and a way back into your life.


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