Excerpt from All In My Head by Paula Kamen, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

All In My Head

An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache

By Paula Kamen

All In My Head
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Feb 2005,
    351 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2006,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

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 be diagnosed.

Telling such stories about the experience of pain can raise awareness about how far we haven't come in 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 fluctuations.

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 age—able to replace severed limbs and excise the most precariously placed brain tumors—our 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 discovered early.


A New Generation of Women Patients Coming Out (chapter 22)

From the preface to All In My Head, pages ix - xvi. Copyright Paula Kamen 2005. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Da Capo Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.