Reviews of Pain-Related Books

Although conferences and in-person learning have been impacted by social distancing needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, continued learning about pain management continues. Members of the MassPI Steering Council have selected some relevant books for people interested in managing pain, whether they are healthcare providers, other healthcare professionals, or pain patients and their families. Each review was done by one of the experienced pain management members of the Steering Council and includes an assessment of who would benefit most from that book.


For a PDF of these books and reviews shown below, click here.

A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem

Author: Judy Foreman
Copyright: 2014
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, MP3 CD

Target: Pain patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals
Reviewer: Claire Sampson, RN-BC – Co-Chair Mass PI

This book is a deeply researched account of the pain crisis that defines pain, the undertreatment of pain, our national crisis, novel approaches to treatment and encouragement to advocate for better pain control. The introduction provides information to the reader guiding them to chapters of interest based on what the reader may be looking for. The author is herself a person with pain capturing the personal perspective as well as a health journalist capturing the scientific studies and comments from pain specialists. A must read for anyone who lives with chronic pain, caregivers, and professionals.

How to Live Well With Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide

Author: Toni Bernhard
Copyright: 2015
Available in: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Target: Pain patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals
Reviewer: Peggy Flood, MS, RN, NC-BC – Steering Council Board Member

This book is a firsthand account of the writer’s experience of living with chronic pain and illness. It is a book that a person who has been diagnosed with chronic pain will find helpful. It contains advice and helpful hints and ideas to enable you to cope and learn new techniques to help yourself. It is worth the read. It is also a good source for the healthcare professional to learn what a patient goes through while living with this diagnosis. I recommend this book.

Managing Pain Before It Manages You (4th Ed.)

Author: Margaret Caudill, MD, PhD, MPH
Copyright: 2016
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

Target: Pain patients; healthcare professionals
Reviewer: Ginger Newell-Stokes, MS, RN – Steering Council Board Member

This book was written for the lay person experiencing chronic pain. It’s focus is on strategies that might be utilized to keep chronic pain under control. Goal setting is emphasized, and the author is down to earth in terms of setting expectations. Specific examples of exercises, relaxation techniques and mindfulness exercises are provided in detail. A comprehensive listing of websites is also offered. Purchase of the book included free audio downloads of guided relaxation exercises. The appendix has more detail in describing the causes of 7 common pain conditions. Worksheets are also provided. The author also pays attention to the psychological impact of chronic pain and the mind-body connection. Healthcare professionals may find this book useful for providing guidance in instructing patients in the techniques listed above.

Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think (2nd Ed.)

Author: Dennis Greenberger, PhD & Christine A. Padesky, PhD
Copyright: 2015
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

Target: Healthcare professionals; pain patients
Reviewer: Betty Morgan, PhD, PMHCNS-BC - Steering Council Board Member

This is a workbook type of manual written for providers but can also be used by patients to learn to use Cognitive Behavioral techniques to manage some of the moods associated problems as they relate to pain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a technique that has been widely used for pain conditions. It assists patients in learning to dampen down some of the complicated thought patterns and subsequent mood problems that accompany chronic conditions such as pain. This book teaches how to understand connections between thoughts, reactions, behaviors and mood that affect day to day functioning.

The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain is Really Like and Why It Matters
to Each of Us

Author: Lynn R. Webster, MD
Copyright: 2015
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Target: Pain patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals
Reviewer: Mary Jane Estrada-Lyder, RN, MSN, ANP-BC – Chair Education Council

In this book, Dr. Webster tells very detailed stories of his own patients, with empathy and compassion. He relates their personal journeys from the time of injury to the time that they discover that healing is possible. For those suffering from pain, this book is a vindication of being heard and validated. For clinicians and those fortunate enough not to have to suffer with daily pain, it provides insight into these individuals’ lives, their struggles, and hopefully opens peoples’ eyes to what being a chronic pain patient “really” means. He also delves into the culture of pain today and the dilemmas providers face. He suggests calls to action for a cultural transformation of pain. A mix of real-life stories, facts and information, it will take you through every emotion, a very easy read. I would recommend this book.

You Are Not Your Pain: Using Mindfulness to Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress, and Restore Well-Being – An Eight- Week Program

Authors: Vidyamala Burch & Danny Penman
Copyright: 2015
Available in: Paperback, Kindle w/ Audio/Video, Audiobook, CD

Target: Pain patients
Reviewer: Jackie Orent-Nathan, ARNP-BC – Steering Council Board Member

Written by two people who suffered horrific pain following traumatic accidents, this book is an 8-week step by step guide to mindfulness meditation for relief from the suffering of chronic pain. The authors explain that research has shown that mindfulness medication works by altering the structure of the brain. It turns down the volume of suffering and has been shown to have a positive effect even after a few sessions of practice. The book comes with an audio CD or web links to download guided mediations. The practice requires a commitment but is not overwhelming – only 10 minutes twice a day to ease suffering. I highly recommend this book for anyone suffering with chronic pain.