Our Brain and Pain, Part III: Books To Explore
In looking at the relationship between our brain and pain, we’ve only barely addressed the tip of the iceberg. Here is a bit of a recap of what was discussed previously: 1) We discussed how mindfulness can help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (and other pain). 2) Next, we discussed neuroplasticity: the discovery by neuroscientists that our brain’s neurons physically “morph” when repetitive signals hit it: like stress. The good news is that neuroscientists, who originally believed this physical change of the brain was irreversible, now see evidence supporting the claim that it is, in fact, reversible. The connection to what we think, the habits we practice, and the possibility of changing negative patterns into positive ones is indeed neurologically possible.
So: our brain and pain. What is their relationship, and how does one affect the other? The question is still an elusive one, even though researchers are working hard to unlock the brain’s and pain’s mysteries. What seems clear, however, is that more and more of the medical community is recognizing the relationship, and are working to discover how our mind connects with our body.
Some of you may think that sounds “New Age-y.” I hope there was enough medical evidence shown to support the benefits of exploring this relationship, of thinking of our brains in a different way, and pain in a different way.
Pain hurts. There are differences in intensity. Pain can also be something unseen. If we accept that pain and hurting are inevitable parts of life, how, then, do we deal with it? And for those suffering from chronic pain, having been to countless doctors and undergone many treatments–where pain is a constant and daily presence-how are you living with that pain? We keep fighting, yes, but in the throws of an episode, or flare-up, what is there to be done?
There’s a lot of material available on this subject, and it’s up to each particular patient to decide what kind of literature to read, be it academic journals, or a memoir of someone going through what you are. Even so, it seems beneficial to provide a list of a handful of books on the subjects discussed. They are easily available and accessible:
**Note: We do not advocate any book or method the literature below may propound. These titles are merely intended to be a sampling of what’s been written on this vast area of research. It is suggested to do your own separate research, consult your physician, and ultimately decide which direction to go.**
- Pain: History, Mechanisms, & Memoir
Change Your Brain, Change Your Pain, by Mr. Mark D Grant MA
The War on Pain, by Scott Fishman, Lisa Berger
Pain: The Science of Suffering (Maps of the Mind), by Patrick Wall
Pain, Its Anatomy, Physiology and Treatment, by Aage R. Moller PhD
The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering, by Melanie Thernstrom
Why We Hurt: The Natural History of Pain, by Dr. Frank T. Vertosick Jr., Frank Vertosick Jr.
2. Our Brain and Pain: Neuroplasticity
Change Your Brain, Change Your Pain, by Mr.Mark D Grant MA
Therapeutic Neuroscience Education (8748), by Adriaan Louw, Emilio Puentedura, OPTP
The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity (James H. Silberman Book), by Norman Doidge
Neural Path Therapy: How to Change Your Brain’s Response to Anger, Fear, Pain, and Desire, by Matthew McKay, David Harp
Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients: 111 Tools, Techniques, Activities & Worksheets, by Debra Burdick
A Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness: The Comprehensive Session-by-Session Program for Mental Health Professionals and Health Care Providers, by Christiane Wolf MD PhD, J. Greg Serpa PhD, Jack Kornfield PhD
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh and Vo-Dihn Mai
4. Dealing With Chronic Pain
The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us, by M.D. Lynn R. Webster
Coping with Chronic Illness: A Cognitive-Beha vioral Approach for Adherence and Depression (Treatments That Work), by Steven Safren, Jeffrey Gonzalez, Nafisseh Soroudi
Living Creatively with Chronic Illness: Developing Skills for Transcending the Loss, Pain, and Frustration, by Eugenie G. Wheeler, Joyce Dace-Lombard