12 Gifts of Knowledge About Chronic Pain

By Pat Anson, PNN Editor

Are you looking for a special gift for a loved one over the holidays? How about a gift to yourself? If you live with chronic pain -- or want to have a friend or family member have a better understanding of what you're going through -- here are 12 books that would make great gifts.

These and other books can be found in PNN’s Suggested Reading section. I recently added new books on kratom, stem cell therapy and medical cannabis, along with books on the history of pain and the opioid crisis.

There’s even a book that might make you laugh out loud. Who knew chronic pain could be funny?

Click on the book's cover to see price and ordering information. Pain News Network receives a small amount of the proceeds -- at no additional cost to you -- for orders placed through Amazon.

Backbone: Living With Chronic Pain Without Turning Into One by Karen Duffy

If you believe laughter is the best medicine, then “Backbone” is for you. In this funny and inspirational book, Karen Duffy recounts her struggles with chronic pain from sarcoidosis and how she learned to cope with it through perseverance and spunk. Duffy also offers tips to healthy people on how to be supportive to loved ones who live with chronic pain.

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 how it’s 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 them, and the growing controversy over its use. Is kratom a dangerous narcotic that should be banned or a helpful and healing herb?

Real Food Heals by Seamus Mullen

“Iron Chef” star Seamus Mullen thought his career as a chef was over when he developed chronic joint pain and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Mullen restored his health by changing his diet — and now avoids foods that are processed or inflammatory. In this cookbook, the celebrity chef shares his recipes for healthy eating with natural ingredients.

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 fought 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.

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 pain, frozen shoulder, neck and back pain, pelvic pain and conditions such as fibromyalgia.

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 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 how meditation can help relieve pain.

American Overdose by Chris McGreal

Chris McGreal traces the history of the opioid crisis in the United States — starting with Purdue Pharma and OxyContin — and how it spread from Appalachia to the rest of the country. Purdue is not the only bad actor in the opioid crisis, as McGreal is also critical of the healthcare industry, law enforcement, politicians and regulators who adopted opioid policies based on greed, ignorance and political agendas.

The Medicalization of Marijuana by Michelle Newhart and William Dolphin

This book explores changing public attitudes about marijuana and its transformation from a stigmatized illegal drug to a promising new medical treatment. Individual stories capture how patients are using cannabis to treat chronic pain and other medical conditions, and how doctors are slowly accepting it as a form of medicine.

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.

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Journalist Beth Macy looks at the opioid crisis from multiple perspectives, including physicians and pharmacists, law enforcement and attorneys, community leaders and drug dealers. Macy examines opioid addiction with compassion and concern, but perpetuates many media-driven myths about pain patients and prescription opioids.

Unlearn Your Pain by Dr. Howard Schubiner

This is the third edition of Dr. Howard 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.

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 to help educate other pain sufferers about arachnoiditis and to share how her Christian faith helped her through many difficult times and pain flares.

If there is a book or publication that's helped you manage chronic pain and might help others, let us know.

12 Great Gifts of Knowledge About Chronic Pain

By Pat Anson, Editor

Still looking for a special gift for a loved one over the holidays? If they live with chronic pain -- or if you have pain and want a friend or relative to have a better understanding of what you're going through -- here are 12 books that would make great gifts.

These and other books can be found in our Suggested Reading section. I recently added new books about kratom and medical cannabis, along with a novel based on a true story about a pain physician whose reputation and practice were ruined by prosecutors.

Click on the book's cover to see price and ordering information. Pain News Network receives a small amount of the proceeds -- at no additional cost to you -- for orders placed through Amazon.

Kratom Book by Katharine Gideon

In this beginner's guide to kratom, Katharine Gideon explains how the leaves of a tree that grows in southeast Asia have been used for centuries as a natural remedy to manage pain and depression. She explains the different strains of kratom and how they can be used in capsules, extracts, teas and powders to treat a variety of medical conditions.

 

Cannabis for Chronic Pain by Rav Ivker, DO

Dr. Rav Ivker is a family physician and holistic healer who learned about the pain relieving benefits of medical marijuana while treating his own severe case of shingles. He offers step by step instructions on the benefits and appropriate use of medical marijuana to treat arthritis, back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

Back in Control by David Hanscom, MD

Spine surgeon 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.

 

Pain on Trial by J.Z. Gassko

J.Z. Gassko bases this novel on the true story of a well-respected doctor whose reputation and practice were ruined by overzealous prosecutors. The book describes the complex world of pain management and how the "relentless war" against opioid addiction impacts both patients and medical professionals.

 

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 Painful Truth by Lynn Webster, MD

Pain specialist 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.

 

A Nation in Pain by Judy Foreman

Award-winning health journalist Judy Foreman spoke with doctors, scientists, policy makers and patients for her sweeping account of the chronic pain crisis in America. Foreman examines possible solutions -- such as better pain education in medical schools -- and the misguided demonization of opioid medication and pain sufferers.

 

Drug Dealer, MD by Anna Lembke, MD

Stanford psychiatrist Anna Lembke -- a board member of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) -- looks at the origins of the opioid epidemic and the role played by drug makers in promoting the use of opioid pain medication. Lembke says the healthcare system is broken and focuses too much on pills, procedures and patient satisfaction over wellness.

 

The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit by Beth Darnall, PhD

Pain psychologist Beth Darnall offers ten simple steps to relieve pain without the use of opioids, including ways to "quiet" pain through meditation and stress reduction. The book includes an innovative 20-minute CD that uses binaural sound technology to help listeners relax and "deamplify" pain signals.

 

No Grain, No Pain by Peter Osborne

An expert on gluten sensitivity and food allergies, Dr. Peter Osborne explores how a grain-heavy diet can cause chronic pain by triggering an autoimmune system response. He offers a 30-day, grain-free diet plan to help readers "heal yourself from the inside out."

 

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.

 

Paindemic by Melissa Cady, DO

Osteopathic physician Melissa Cady believes opioids should not be a first-line treatment for chronic pain, and that there are many other unnecessary and risky interventions that provide little benefit. She advocates an "antiPAIN lifetstyle" that focuses initially on physical therapy and exercise.