We all experience pain in some degree or other, relative to the severity of the trauma/anguish suffered, but what causes the pain? The author of a book entitled Pain: The Science of the Feeling Brain, gives us a well considered, and proven account of it in all its myriad forms.

Abdul-Ghaaliq Lalkhen, the author, himself a qualified anaesthesiologist, who is also a member of The Faculty of Pain Medicine affiliated to the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, explains in laymans terms how we, the sufferer, deal with any possible disruption to a pain free life.

We hurt ourselves, and if the pain is severe, then we often attend our own Medical Practitioners, who, with all respect, are sometimes at a total loss deciding how to deal with the subsequent pain. The problem lies in the multiple ways that pain can be experienced. Maybe a fall that damages relevant tissue, or maybe a Cancer, or perhaps Osteoarthritis, or quite possibly a Lumbar region ache, that does not desist under any treatment. Whatever the pain source, the way it can manifest itself is explained in simplified terms in the book.

We, the public, usually expect to have a medical answer, either using some form of prescriptive drug, allied with some type of physiotherapy perhaps, but often this is not the answer at all. We are also prone to multiple differences in our body’s reaction to pain; therefore rendering one particular ‘cure’ to a sufferer may actually aggravate the trauma to another person.

Abdul-Ghaaliq informs us of the organ that creates pain, and that is the Brain. It sends electrical messages to and from parts of the body via the Spinal Column, and its many attendant nerves. So, what might be a pain in the foot; could be a nerve somewhere near the neck causing it. This then is the dilemma facing the doctors. We are informed of case studies, both long term, and otherwise, the different treatments available to acute and chronic pain, medication and even electrical nerve stimulation. There is quite an interesting and informative history of Opioids in all their types, and how it all got rather out of hand. Transplanting stimulus batteries, wires, Lumbar insertion operations, and the list goes on and on.

I found the book extremely interesting, especially a section about how we, the sufferer, can hopefully treat ourselves with a mental application that maybe helps come to terms with any pain. Sometimes, we cannot actually be ‘cured’ of pain, but we can train to live better with it, and strive to manage it, there is also a well-considered treatise on the subject, including how corporate interests, sometimes lose sight of the aim of pain reduction that they are supposed to be supporting, and would rather pursue the fiscal opportunities.

It all makes for a rather deep, and interesting book that could well find a home on any doctors bookshelf.

Review by Reginald Seward

Publisher : Atlantic Books – imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd (14th Jan 2021)
ISBN : 978-1-78649-705-5 Hardback