Pain as a Public Heath and Disability Issue (chapter 22) All in My Head raises national consciousness about
chronic headaches and chronic pain in general as a serious public health and
disability issue. Chronic headaches afflict people of all ages and from all
walks of life, but with those from lower incomes less likely to see a doctor and
Telling such stories about the experience of pain can raise
awareness about how far we haven't comein actually treating chronic
pain, especially the most severe and frequent forms, despite significant strides
to understand its neurochemistry and triggers. As the recent study from the
American Chronic Pain Association reveals, 47 percent of those with chronic pain
say it is NOT under control. Fifty percent of those with ever-present pain (like
the author) have this response.
Pain advocates discuss how actual limits in life, or
disability, can be relieved with more accommodation and understanding from
society. This includes more flexible work schedules and the ability to work at a
slower pace. This accommodation can be compared to society building ramps for
those in wheelchairs or providing sign language for deaf patrons to the theater;
with these remedies, these "disabled" people are now less disabled. An
example of a successful arrangement from the book is of a 14-year old girl with
chronic daily headache who attends a special "therapeutic day school"
at which she can work at a slower pace and intensity. This way she has the
choice to participate in and contribute to society, instead of being completely
left out like so many with chronic pain.
Pain as a Women's Issue (chapter 13)
Although men are certainly affected by chronic pain, it
should be recognized as a long-neglected "women's issue." New
scientific data is available to justify this political and medical focus on
women (mainly from researcher Roger Fillingim, author of Sex, Gender and Pain).
As pointed out above, pain disorders disproportionately affect women, mainly
because of differing neurological wiring, often aggravated by hormone
A major complaint from women patients is that, compared to
men, their pain is largely considered to be psychological in nature, and that
when it does have such a component, proper medical treatment is not given. As
studies also show, women are more likely than men to be medically undertreated
for pain, with men more likely to be prescribed more effective narcotics and
women more likely to get addictive and useless tranquilizers.
Our Broken Medical System (in chapter 22)
Ironically, while knowledge of headaches is growing and we
are in an advanced technological ageable to replace severed limbs and excise
the most precariously placed brain tumorsour general understanding of how to
actually relieve chronic pain is still relatively primitive. All in My Head
questions the often-overstated effectiveness of both Western medicine and CAM
(Complementary and Allied Medicine) in treating chronic pain.
New Brain Scans Give 'Proof' and 'Legitimacy' (chapter 7)
This topic is being taken very seriously in neurological
studies, with the aid of advanced brain scanning techniques, including
functional MRIs and PET scans (which trace blood flow in the brain). These
recent breakthroughs defy past psychoanalytic definitions of pain "you can't
see" as mainly psychological in origin. Reflecting such an upsurge in
medical research in the past decade in this field, scientists are now referring
to chronic headaches as "Migraine Disease," reflecting a neurological
basis and common progressive nature. This paradigm treats the problem of head
pain more seriously and even offers hope in stemming its progression, when
A New Generation of Women Patients Coming Out (chapter 22)
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...