This site is intended for health professionals only

The Mystery of Pain by Douglas Nelson

This book intends to inform the reader about pain, allowing them to understand and manage their own pain. It is directed at the lay reader, although it covers a range of scientific theories and research. It is written by an American licensed massage therapist with the aim of making a complex topic accessible to the non-scientist.

The author covers a range of scientific principles, for example explaining the anatomy of the nervous system and how pain receptors function. The writing style is informal, making it easy to read and understand. However, it is not a textbook of pain management or detailed enough for those with a special interest in pain.

There are specific chapters on Fibromyalgia, trigger points and referred pain. Finally he reviews how pain can isolate patients from their usual social networks; this helped me as a clinician to consider the wider impact of pain on the patient, and their daily lives.

Overall, this was an interesting book which manages to explain scientific theories and research into pain. It is accessible and is clear in its aims to educate those in pain so they are better able to understand their condition. It would be a useful resource for patients to educate themselves about the complex issue of pain.

Rating: 8/10

Dr Holly Simms, GP locum, Hertfordshire