Chronic pain is more widespread, misdiagnosed, and untreated than any major disease in America, affecting as much as 10% of the population. In her new book “The Pain Chronicles,” author Melanie Thernstrom outlines the history of medicine’s quest to alleviate pain from the first use of ether for surgery in 1842 to the modern use of controversial opioids and the advent of neuro-imaging to retrain the brain to cope with pain. Thernstrom waged her own battle with chronic pain and ultimately found a regime of physical therapy, Botox, Celebrex and Tramadol to deal with it. Her book examines the elusive nature of pain and how often misguided notions of pain have prevented proper treatment of unrelenting pain that many confront with grace and courage everyday.
Melanie Thernstrom, author of The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing and the Science of Suffering (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)