BookAuthor: Sylvia Goldfarb, Ph.D and Waddell, Roberta W.

Price: $18.95

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Description: In this hefty reference book, health writers Goldfarb and Waddell take on chronic pain, a topic many authors and physicians shy away from. There are few easy medical solutions to chronic pain, and the authors point out the problems with many conventional treatments, such as the addictiveness of narcotics, the gastrointestinal side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and the increased risk of heart attacks associated with prescription pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors (i.e., the recently recalled Vioxx). Health writers Goldfarb and Waddell tend to oversimplify the difference between conventional and alternative medicine, however, implying that while drugs wreak havoc inside the body, alternative therapies are “natural” and therefore virtually nontoxic—an assertion that isn’t always true. Nevertheless, they do succeed in offering quick and easy access to information about pain relief. The book’s first half provides overviews of common pain conditions, from Achilles tendonitis to ulcerative colitis, explaining symptoms, causes, diagnostic criteria, conventional therapies and alternative therapies. In the book’s second half, the authors summarize popular alternative therapies for pain, including homeopathy, bee venom therapy, exercise, acupuncture and acupressure. Both sections are likely to prove useful to people looking for new ways of coping with their pain.