Change your Brain, Change your Pain.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Shipton, E.A.
Pub Date: 01/01/2010
Publication: Name: Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Publisher: Australian Society of Anaesthetists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Australian Society of Anaesthetists ISSN: 0310-057X
Issue: Date: Jan, 2010 Source Volume: 38 Source Issue: 1
Topic: NamedWork: Change your Brain, Change your Pain (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Grant, Mark
Accession Number: 221657277
Full Text: Change your Brain, Change your Pain. M. Grant; Mark Grant, Wyong Medical Centre, Margaret St, Wyong, NSW 2259; $49.95; 175x250 mm; pp. 212; ISBN 978-0-646-51471-0.

This book describes the relationship (and overlap) between physical and emotional pain. It is written for lay readers suffering from persistent physical (following a physical injury) or emotional pain (childhood neglect or family instability; sexual abuse; combat experience), to help 'manage' and not 'cure' their pain.

Pain is a perceptual experience (no brain, no pain). Chapter 1 explores the normal emotional changes of injury and pain, the relationship of pain and the brain and the influence of stress on pain. Chapter 2 describes the normal emotional responses to pain/ injury. The processes by which stress leads to pain are explained, including the effects of stress on brain structure and functioning.

Chapter 3 explores brain structure and functioning and looks at how stress-related biochemical changes create a self-perpetuating cycle of stress and pain. Neuroplasticity and memory maintain pain, but can be harnessed (as stated in Chapter 4) to change pain. A questionnaire can be completed to help the reader identify the factors that maintain their pain, in order to plan a treatment strategy.

In Chapters 5 to 12, readers learn to apply fivestage sensory-emotional strategies for reversing the brain patterns that maintain pain. The author reminds the reader to ensure that their pain is not due to an undiagnosed medical condition and that they are receiving adequate medical care.

The practical use of three strategies for changing pain (relaxation, medication and self-hypnosis) is provided. All three involve focused attention, bodily awareness and openness to change, in order to lessen the pain experience. A fourth strategy entails the use of a dual attention stimulus.

Exercise reduces pain and stress through its effects on biochemistry (dopamine, serotonin), neurobiology, mood (distraction, self-confidence) and physiology (increased blood flow, strength, and flexibility).

Severe pain and stress can disrupt normal sleep patterns and the book looks at changing the way the reader thinks about their pain by identifying negative attitudes and beliefs, then challenging them and replacing them with more adaptive thoughts.

The final chapter deals with the use of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing treatment in overcoming pain (particularly pain associated with psychological trauma). It helps the sufferer process distressing memories. Chapter references are given at the end of the book.

The book is written in a flowing style and an easy-to-read format. It is accompanied by a brain stimulation CD-ROM containing over an hour of music and guided bilateral stimulation exercises. This book is not a substitute for obtaining professional assistance, but it does empower lay readers to lessen the impact of pain on their quality of life.

Knowledge and application of the resources in this book afford helpful avenues for pain medicine specialists to explore when dealing with patients with persistent pain.

E. A. Shipton

Christchurch, New Zealand
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.