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Judy Foreman

Oxford University press, 2014

Commentary by C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

Forty-three years ago, recognizing the virtual total failure of modern medicine to handle pain well, I moved from a busy neurosurgical practice to pain management. I would like to say the situation is better today than in 1971. This book settles the issue well-we not only are no better medically now than we were then; we may be worse. Then, the approach was narcotics, tranquilizers, nerve block, cut, psychiatry. Now it is primarily narcotics and antidepressants with modern tranquilizers.

With 118 pages of references, the author documents the remarkably inept and even dangerous slippery slope of modern medicine when it comes to pain therapy. If you wish the latest and best overview of just how bad it is, then this is the current reference. In her attempt to suggest solutions, I find no real hope that anything will improve. A few of her suggestions are certainly worthwhile, but the System simply is too complex and too broken. Of course, the problem with chronic pain is not really much worse than that for most chronic disease! Frankly, whether it is pain, depression, diabetes or hypertension, to mention a few of the biggies, modern medicine fails miserably.

Incidentally, as with most such problems, there are good answers not found in the System. These include:

TENS-Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

Facet Nerve blocks

Osteopathic manipulative therapy



Many varieties of body work


Transcutaneous Acupuncture

The broad field of Energy Medicine

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