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Validate Your Pain! Exposing the Chronic Pain Cover-Up
is the newly published book of Drs. Allan Chino and Corinne Davis. The first thing that caught my attention as I began reading the book was the intense personal feelings of the authors in regards to our present system of healthcare. Some of their comments are very critical of the health care system. The criticism is born out of the authors' experiences. It was frustrating for them to work within a system that could not or would not work with an interdisciplinary approach to pain management, a new concept in medicine.

Dr. Chino is a board certified clinical health psychologist and President of the American Academy of Clinical Health Psychology. His practice centers on pain management with a special interest in fibromyalgia research. Dr. Davis is a board certified in pain medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation and EMG. In addition to her private practice in pain management, she serves on the Prescription Substance Abuse Task Force for the State of Nevada. Together they had set up and directed a CARF-accredited hospital-based pain rehabilitation program in northern California. It was their experiences in the corporate world of medicine that formed the strong personal opinions expressed in the book.

But don't let those opinions deter you from reading this book. In my opinion Validate Your Pain! Exposing the Chronic Pain Cover-Up has far more to offer than what its cover and opening remarks suggest. Whether you are a doctor or a patient I would urge you to set aside your prejudices and read this book with an open mind. You will not be sorry.

It is only in the last decade or so that the treatment of chronic pain has become a specialized area of medicine. Drs Chino and Davis believe that you can not treat the chronic pain patient in the same way you would treat a patient suffering from acute pain.

Through out the book the authors repeatedly emphasis the need to relieve the suffering of the chronic pain patient. The reader is given a thorough understanding of pain and its management. Our education starts with a chapter on the anatomy of pain probably the most difficult chapter of the book for me to get through. But, in the last paragraph of the chapter I was rewarded with, "If you have made it through this chapter, we congratulate you. You have gained not only a better understanding of the anatomy and physiology of pain, but our respect for your perseverance in learning about such a challenging subject." Boy did I need that positive reinforcement!

This same comfortable style of writing dominates the book. The language flows easily and is often times amusing. While chronic pain is hardly a funny topic and indeed some might find fault with this style of writing, I as chronic pain suffer, found the humor to be an antidote to my pain.

The authors continue on to discuss what a doctor's work up entails, tests for diagnosing the source of the pain, the various medicines available for treating pain, modalities, alternatives, and surgery. As you read, it becomes apparent that there is no one way to treat patients with chronic pain. One of the things I most appreciated about the book was that the authors pointed out the pros and cons of the information they presented.

They emphasized that most pain is real and not a manifestation of the patient's mind or experiences. But how the patient views his/her pain can have a direct bearing on the outcome of the treatment plan. Treatment plans that recognize a mind-body connection are more likely to be more successful than those that do not. Drs. Chino and Davis also point out that what the medical experts say should not work in pain control is often contradicted by the patients' experiences. They pose a question. Who is right the patients or the doctors? Drs. Chino and Davis recognize that patients are individuals with choices and indeed recommend an interdisciplinary approach to their treatment with the patient being part of the process. They have found that a treatment plan has a better chance of success when the patient takes an active role in this decision making process.

As a chronic pain patient, I appreciated the layout and language of the book. The authors insisted that the book be set in a large type with double spacing between paragraphs. The larger print made it easier to read.

The book is laid out in such a way that it is not necessary to read it straight through it. It lends itself well to being picked up and put down many times without losing any of the information. While the book had some very technical chapters, they were spread throughout the book with less technical information in between thus allowing me to absorb the information presented a little at a time without burning myself out. I also liked the cross-referenced index in the back of the book. It makes it easier to find information to take to our doctors or share with our families.

It is often said that unless a person lives with pain on a daily basis that they can not understand what it is like. The authors show a remarkable understanding of what the life of a chronic patient is like. When I was finished with the book, I felt renewed and recharged. It was as though the book was written for me and me alone. It spoke to me. It validated my pain. It validated my life something I needed very badly.

In my opinion Validate Your Pain! Exposing the Chronic Pain Cover-Up gives the chronic pain patient the necessary information and validation to move forward. It is a book that a doctor can recommend to his/her patients that will answer their questions and address their fears. It is a primer on chronic pain, which is meant to be read and marked up many times over. It answers the patient's questions in a style and manner that the average patient can understand. As both a chronic pain patient and a support group leader of over seven years, I believe everyone who lives with chronic pain should consider this book their best friend.

- Reviewed by Lois Davidson, Support Group Leader

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Most recent revision Wednesday, September 11, 2002