Book Review

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

Painful-Truth-book-cover-by-Lynn-WebsterChange Through The Painful Truth: A Book and TV Documentary
By Lynn Webster, M.D.

Chronic pain plagues 1 in 3 Americans and has more than a $600 billion drain on the economy. It’s become the healthcare crisis no one can, or wants to, talk about. Having treated many patients with chronic pain – often when they were at their most vulnerable – I continue to believe there is hope. Ultimately, it will require more research, better therapies, and improved policies. But it begins simply with showing everyone the humanity and urgency we give to a child in pain.

Toward that end, I have created a book (The Painful Truth, to be published in September of 2015) and a television documentary (also titled "The Painful Truth") which will air on PBS between four and six weeks later).

The Painful Truth is a deeply intimate collection of stories about people living with disabling pain, their attempts to heal, and the challenges that we collectively face to help them survive and, ultimately, live meaningful lives. As a physician who has treated people with chronic pain for more than 30 years, I reveal in the book the difficulties that patients face dealing with chronic pain in a society which is often shamelessly prejudiced against those who are in most need of compassion and empathy. I share how those biases also affect those who treat patients with chronic pain.

My television documentary is a companion to the book. Through interviews with people in pain, I will share the realities of chronic pain visually and poignantly with viewers who, ultimately, can make a difference. The show will document the intimate, personal, and profound impact that pain has on patients' lives. My hope is to engage readers and viewers emotionally, and motivate them to be part of a grassroots movement for change.

Dr. Lynn R. Webster, MD, is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at PRA Health Sciences, and author of a forthcoming book, The Painful Truth, and producer of a PBS TV documentary by the same name. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. He lives in Salt Lake City.
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