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Book review: ‘Overcoming chronic pain’ By Frances Cole

This book is a self-help guide of how to deal with chronic pain using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques; it is part of the ‘Overcoming’ series.

Available as part of the ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme, it is written by a GP, physiotherapist, psychotherapist and university lecturer specialising in pain management.

‘Overcoming chronic pain’ explores what chronic pain is and the impact of it. There is a helpful section for patients on investigations that may be requested to investigate chronic pain as well as the role for health care professionals.

There is a chapter discussing the use of analgesia and how to use them effectively in managing chronic pain.

This is an easy to read, insightful book that I would recommend to patients. It highlights ways of managing chronic pain such as goal setting, graded activities and dealing with sleep problems.

Importantly, it discusses recognising and managing depression and anxiety that may co-exist with chronic pain. It helps the reader understand the consequences of their chronic pain and highlights how to deal with setbacks as well as acceptance of a chronic condition.

The book may be read in one sitting or in several and also referred to multiple times. The authors suggest working on one chapter per week and give practical advice. It is likely that the most benefit is achieved by doing the practical exercises suggested by the authors.

The book may be used in conjunction with seeing a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist or as a self-help guide for patients or indeed as part of a pain management programme.