Navigating Life with Chronic Pain

ISBN : 9780190619688

Robert A Lavin; Sara Clayton; Lindsay Zilliox
256 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
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Navigating Life with Chronic Pain provides accessible, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about the challenges patients, family, and caregivers face when confronted by chronic pain. No two pain experiences are the same, so your chronic pain depends on where you have pain, how long you have experienced pain, and how the pain symptoms developed. Everyone needs a customized approach because pain symptoms, other medical conditions, past pain experiences, beliefs about pain, environment, ability to cope with the pain, and financial and social support (like family, friends, and caregivers) are different for every person.

This book aims to provide clear and reliable information about chronic pain, including "what" (definition), "how" (pathophysiology), and "why" (etiology). The authors expertly guide the reader through current approaches to diagnoses, including a review of diagnostic tests, as well as a comprehensive, integrated approach to chronic pain treatment.

They demystify the pain evaluation and explain why pain professionals might ask you for detailed and seemingly personal information. Through the use of patient stories, you get real-world experiences and advice on navigating the day-to-day challenges of chronic pain. You will learn how to take control of your chronic pain using a variety of tools, like behavioral, exercise and nutritional approaches, medications, alternative treatments (yoga and tai chi), and injections or surgery.


1.Understanding Chronic Pain

How the Brain Interprets Pain

How the Brain Modifies Pain

What is the Difference between Acute and Chronic Pain, and Why Does It Matter?

Will My Chronic Pain Improve?

You Are Not Alone

2. Different Types of Chronic Pain

The Nervous System

What is Nerve Pain?

Arthritis Pain

Myofascial Pain


Back Pain


3. What You Might Expect During a Doctor's Appointment

Why Do I Need to Complete All of These Forms?

Talking with Your Doctor About Chronic Pain

Diagnostic Tests That Your Doctor May Request


4. Taking Control of Your Life


Loss of Flexibility

Exercise as a Prescription

Other Problems Caused by Immobility

Making the Most of Things

Feeling Better

The Unseen Enemy: Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Sleep Disturbances

5. Behavioral Approaches

What is the Biopsychosocial Model of Pain?

The Pain Experience

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Meditation and Mindfulness

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy




6. Lifestyle Modifications

What is the Role of Exercise and Nutrition?

What are Complementary and Alternative (CAM) Treatments?

What are Orthotic and Assistive Devices?

What are Environmental Modifications?

7. Non-opioid Pain Medications

Medications - Why They Don't Always Work and How to Use Them Safely

Commonly Prescribed Pain Medications and Common Side Effects

Acetaminophen, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Antidepressants, Antiepileptics, Muscle Relaxants

Medical Marijuana

8. Opioid Pain Medications

So Why Do Opioids Work for Pain?

Why are Opioids So Controversial?

Commonly Prescribed Opioid Medications: Indications and Common Side Effects

Confusing Concepts: Dependence, Addiction, Withdrawal, Tolerance, and Hyperalgesia

When to Call Your Doctor

9. Injections, Implants, and Surgery - Benefits and Limitations

Why Spine Surgery May Not Fix the Pain Problem?

Why Can't They Cut Out the Pain?

Spinal Fusion Surgeries

Other Surgical Limitations

Why Can't I have an Injection?

What Should I Expect from Interventional Procedures?

What are the Risks of Injections?

10. Pain and Your Significant Others

Social interactions and Communication


Caregiver Burnout

Appendix: Practical Patient/Caregiver Aids

Appendix: Resources List

About the author: 

Robert A. Lavin, MD, MS is Assistant Professor in Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of Chronic Pain Management at VA Maryland Health Care Services in Baltimore, MD.; Sara Clayton, PhD is the Director of Pain Psychology at VA Maryland Health Care Services at a member of the Department of Neurology at the Baltimore VAMC in Baltimore, MD.; Lindsay Zilliox, MD is part of the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.

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