SUGGESTED READING

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Fentanyl, Inc. by Ben Westhoff

Investigative journalist Ben Westhoff takes a close look at illicit fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, how they are manufactured in China and then smuggled into the United States — where they are now involved in over two-thirds of drug overdose deaths. Westhoff says U.S. drug policy “is in shambles” and poorly equipped to stop the synthetic drug trade, which requires sweeping new public heath initiatives.

Adhesive Arachnoiditis: An Old Disease Re-Emerges by Dr. Forest Tennant

The world’s foremost expert on adhesive arachnoiditis (AA), Dr. Forest Tennant wrote this handbook to raise awareness about an intractable pain condition that millions of Americans suffer from. Often misdiagnosed as “failed back syndrome,” AA can start with simple back pain caused by sedentary lifestyles. The condition becomes chronic after interventional procedures such as surgeries and epidural injections damage the spine.

The United States of Opioids by Harry Nelson

Healthcare legal expert Harry Nelson looks at the origins and causes of the opioid crisis in the United States and offers a roadmap out of it. Nelson says the greed of drug companies played a role in starting in the crisis, but the “overarching problem” is the inadequate training of doctors in pain management and opioid prescribing.

The Criminalization of Medicine: America’s War on Doctors by Ronald Libby

This 2008 book remains just as relevant today as it was a decade ago. Author Ronald Libby says U.S. doctors have been turned into criminal scapegoats for the failures of the healthcare industry and the war on drugs. Doctors are prosecuted, fined and harassed by law enforcement for simple billing and record-keeping mistakes, or for treating pain with drugs that non-experts consider excessive or inappropriate.

Healing with CBD by Eileen Konieczny and Lauren Wilson

You’ve heard the hype about CBD. But does cannabidiol (CBD) really provide pain relief? This book separates CBD facts from fiction by explaining what CBD is, the science behind it, how to buy quality CBD products, and potential treatments for common ailments.

Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement by Eric Garland

University of Utah professor Eric Garland, PhD, has developed a mindfulness training program to treat both pain and opioid dependence. It teaches people how to savor enjoyable experiences, enhance positive emotions, and stop focusing on physical and emotional pain. Disrupting these negative habits helps people refocus their lives on more positive ways of thinking, which significantly reduces stress, opioid cravings and pain.

Chronic Pain the Drug-Free Way by Phil Sizer

Author Phil Sizer teaches pain management courses for Pain Association Scotland with an emphasis on using self-management skills such as positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, stress reduction and even humor to relieve pain. Sizer has some off-beat suggestions for patients, such as “punking” pain management rules and avoiding “bubble vampires” — people who suck the energy out of you.

The LDN Book by Linda Elsegood

People around the world are discovering that low doses of naltrexone (LDN) can be used to treat fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue and depression. So why isn’t this affordable and effective non-opioid drug used more widely? Linda Elsegood of The LDN Research Trust wrote this book to help educate doctors and patients about the untapped potential of naltrexone, which is currently only approved for the treatment of addiction.

Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson

Are you chronically unhappy? Psychologist Rick Hanson says evolution has hardwired our brains to learn quickly from bad experiences and slowly from good ones. That’s why we tend to dwell over hurt feelings and regrets. Hanson lays out four steps you can use every day to overcome your brain’s negative bias and refocus it on love, confidence and peace.

The Kratom Cure: Potent Plant for Pain, Anxiety, Addiction by Joanne Hillyer

In this beginner’s guide to kratom, Joanne Hillyer examines both the benefits and drawbacks of kratom and the history of how it has been used for centuries in southeast Asia as a natural stimulant and pain reliever. Hillyer also explores the various strains of kratom, where to get it, and looks at the growing controversy over its use. Is kratom a dangerous narcotic that should be banned or a helpful, healing herb?

The Painful Truth by Lynn Webster, MD

Pain specialist and PNN columnist Dr. Lynn Webster shares the inspirational stories of patients struggling with chronic pain, and examines the benefits and risks of opioid medication, the importance of caregivers, and how patients can have fulfilling lives even in the worst pain situations. The Painful Truth offers a path toward awareness, hope and healing.

Back in Control by David Hanscom, MD

Former spine surgeon and PNN columnist Dr. David Hanscom has helped hundreds of back pain sufferers by teaching them how to calm their central nervous systems without the use of drugs or surgery. Hanscom shares the latest developments in neuroscience research and his own personal history with pain, which at one point led him to consider suicide.

Living Pain Free: Healing Chronic Pain with Myofascial Release by Amanda Oswald

Myofascial release expert Amanda Oswald explains how fascia — the main connective tissue in the body — is the key to restoring pain-free health and motion. She explains how stretches, exercises and other self-care techniques can relieve migraines, headaches, jaw (TMJ) pain, frozen shoulder, neck and back pain, pelvic pain and conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and myofascial pain syndrome.

Heal Me: In Search of a Cure by Julia Buckley

Travel writer Julia Buckley went a a global quest to find an alternative treatment for her pain from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Buckley underwent a voodoo exorcism in Haiti, was doused with chicken blood in South Africa, and met a California masseur who believes he is guided by angels. Buckley says the best advice came from a Brazilian faith healer who taught her that meditation can help relieve pain.

Stem Cells: The Healing Revolution by Dr. Raj Banerjee

This book answers some of the most basic questions about stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. Dr. Raj Banerjee, who founded a clinic in St. Louis nearly two decades ago, shares the testimonials of his patients while exploring the history, challenges and benefits of stem cell therapy and how it can be used to treat a wide range of chronic pain conditions, including arthritis and degenerative disc disease.

The Furnace of Fire by Elaine Ballard

Elaine Ballard suffered a severe back injury when she was 22 years old. Fifty years later, she is confined mostly to bed and recently learned she has arachnoiditis. Ballard wrote this book about arachnoiditis to help educate other pain sufferers about the disease and to share how her Christian faith helped her through many difficult times and pain flares.

Unlearn Your Pain by Dr. Howard Schubiner

This is the third edition of Dr. Schubiner’s book on the “Mind Body Syndrome” — the theory that many chronic pain conditions are the result of unresolved stress and emotional issues. Schubiner explains how to rid yourself of pain without drugs, surgery or psychotherapy by “unlearning” your pain.

Kratom Book by Katharine Gideon

Katharine Gideon explains how the leaves of a tree that grows in southeast Asia can be used as a natural remedy to manage pain, anxiety and depression. She explains the different strains of kratom and how they can be used in capsules, extracts, teas and powders to treat a wide variety of medical conditions.

 

Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Investigative journalist and back pain sufferer Cathryn Jakobson Ramin spent six years looking at the pros and cons of surgery, opioids, chiropractic care, epidural steroid injections and other types of treatment for back pain. Her conclusion? You're better off with a structured exercise program. 

The Rebel Patient by Margaret Aranda, MD

Dr. Margaret Aranda is a Stanford-trained anesthesiologist whose life and career were upended by a traumatic brain injury. For years she struggled to get a correct diagnosis and have her symptoms taken seriously. Aranda became an advocate for herself and other pain patients, and shares the valuable lessons she learned as a doctor who became a "rebel patient." 

From Wheels to Heals by Barby Ingle

PNN Columnist and iPain founder Barby Ingle draws on 20 years of experience navigating the healthcare system as a pain patient looking for answers and relief. Once confined to bed and a wheelchair, Barby developed the "nerve to be heard" and learned how to be her own best advocate when dealing with physicians, insurers and providers.

A Pained Life by Carol Levy

PNN columnist Carol Levy writes about her 30-year struggle to live with and fight against the pain of trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic facial pain disorder known as the "worst pain known to man." Carol fought for years just to get a proper diagnosis and to overcome skepticism by medical professionals and her own family.

Noah the Narwhal by Judith Klausner

Author Judith Klausner, who grew up with chronic migraines, wrote this children's book to help kids cope with headache pain. It tells the story of Noah, a narwhal whale, who suffers from daily bouts of chronic pain. “My head feels like it’s full of sea urchins," Noah says.

The Story of Pain: From Prayers to Painkillers by Joanna Burke

This book examines the history of pain since the 18th century, when many people believed that pain was a message from God and submission to pain was seen as redemptive. Today, pain is seen more as an evil that needs to be exorcised with painkillers and other therapies. Joanna Burke says knowing the history of pain can help us understand our own suffering and that of those around us.