The Painful Truth

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Title: The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us
Published by: Oxford University Press
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Pages: 216
ISBN13: 978-0190659721


The Painful Truth is an intimate collection of stories about people living with disabling pain, their attempts to heal, and the challenges that we collectively face in helping them live meaningful lives. As a physician who has treated people with chronic pain for more than thirty years, Dr. Webster reveals the difficulties that patients face in dealing with chronic pain in a society that is often shamefully prejudiced against those who are most in need of our empathy. He shares how such biases also affect medical professionals who treat patients with chronic pain.

In Part 1 of the book, Dr. Webster introduces nine former patients of his, illustrating their unique situations as their lives were suddenly and dramatically torn apart by chronic pain. These personal stories are raw and truthful, revealing the humanity of an often-overlooked part of our society. Each story describes a person’s journey toward healing in the face of misunderstanding and societal barriers.

Part 2 of The Painful Truth helps readers understand the uncomfortable realities faced by people in pain. Due to controversies over opioid prescriptions, they are often unable to get the treatment they need. Dr. Webster initiates a bold series of calls to action about how we all can contribute to a cultural transformation that will change attitudes and behaviors toward people in pain. The goal is to ensure that treatment of chronic pain is established as a human right.

Awards & Praise

Foreward Book of the Year — IndieFab Finalist
CIP EVVY Book Award — First Place
2015-2016 Reviewers Choice Award — Readers Views Literary Award Winner

"Dr. Lynn Webster's compassion for people in pain and for pain care makes The Painful Truth a groundbreaking and remarkable book. This book is a first of its kind and needed in the pain awareness movement. Dr. Webster uses true stories and his vast background and experience to remind us why pain is a reality that cannot be ignored. The Painful Truth will change the way this country thinks about pain, pain management, and those who struggle with pain every day."
Paul Gileno, founder and president, U.S. Pain Foundation

"The Painful Truth is a unique and important book. Through a series of poignant vignettes, Webster brings into stark relief the modern-day plague of chronic pain-one that kills insidiously and slowly, if not always literally, then most certainly socially, emotionally, and spiritually. This book is a treasure. Everyone should read it."
Perry Fine, professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, University of Utah; past president, American Academy of Pain Medicine

"With this book, Webster has drawn back the curtain on the disease of chronic pain that so many Americans suffer with daily while they struggle with a medical system that generally lacks understanding or education to help them. The Painful Truth is an important read for pain patients, family members of those patients, and perhaps most importantly, the providers who care for pain patients."
Chester "Trip" Buckenmaier III, MD, Col (ret), MC, USA; Editor-in-Chief, U.S. Medicine

"As someone who works on behalf of people in pain and who also knows what it's like to experience chronic pain, I highly recommend this book. One of the most hope-filled, helpful books on pain I've ever read."
Janet Favero Chambers, president, National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association

"[The Painful Truth] has the potential to be a 'game changer.' The stories are very powerful."
Myra J. Christopher, Kathleen M. Foley Chair in Pain and Palliative Care, Center for Practical Bioethics

"This book gives voice to real people who suffer with chronic pain and to their caregivers. With the wisdom and compassion of a seasoned practitioner, he tells their stories. Some are inspirational stories of healing and hope; others depict the disenfranchisement experienced by so many forced to live with chronic pain; other stories are tragic. We would all do well to heed the call of those forced to live with chronic pain. This excellent book is a very good place to start."
The Rev. George Anthony Hoeltzel, Episcopal priest, Yonkers, New York

"It is not often that you come across a book written by a physician that is filled with more than good advice; it is filled with compassion and understanding for people with pain. From his early childhood, Lynn Webster understood the torment of pain and the importance of just being there and accepting the person in spite of his or her pain. His accounts of his patients are heartfelt, and anyone with pain can relate to the struggles he so perceptively tells. Dr. Webster also looks at the real issues we all face when it comes to access to care for the person with pain as well as the struggles the provider faces in whether or not to treat people with pain in today's climate of opioid prescribing."
Penney Cowan, founder and executive director, American Chronic Pain Association

"The Painful Truth is an asset for people who deal with pain on a personal level or on a larger scale: people suffering; their loved ones and caregivers; and practitioners of counseling, physical therapy, pharmacy, elder care, and other related professions. Webster avoids jargon in all medical descriptions so that everyday people can un- derstand. And while every thought is given the level of development it requires, the book is not dense; it's an easy-to-read, smooth mix of story and information.EL The Painful Truth is an invaluable, hope- filled resource for individuals-and societies-consumed by pain."
Foreword Reviews

"An intelligent, provocative, and inspiring call to arms for those who simply want relief and a return to normalcy."
Kirkus Reviews

"From reading this book one can very well see how compassionate Dr. Webster is in caring for his patients during their most difficult moments. This is quite noticeable in his conversations and treat- ments with his patients where he tries to balance realism and their need for hope. This is an intelligent wake-up call in acknowledg- ing that we are not doing nearly our best to get them the treatment they need and often look at them askance when they try to do their best for themselves within the system as it exists today."

"Powerful, engrossing and clear-eyed, this is an important book for those dealing with chronic pain-sufferers, medical professionals, and caregivers alike."
Booklist Review

"The book tackles all different avenues of support-family, friends, medical, spiritual-and tries to offer something for anyone reading it. If you have CPS [chronic pain syndrome], it offers the knowledge that you are not alone, some new ideas and thoughts, and a sense that you are not stumbling around in the dark with something no one can understand. If you know someone who has CPS it can offer you a better understanding of what they're going through and what they might need to support them through it. And if you have never encountered CPS then it helps to shine a light onto a criminally overlooked problem that so many people dismiss as nothing."
The Review Diaries

"When people speak of 'chronic pain patients' all too often pejoratively and as a group, it's easy to overlook their individuality, and the courage and inherent dignity of their too lonely struggles. Not Dr. Webster, thankfully. Reading his book will change you and hopefully enable your humanity to emerge anew whether you are a professional or loved one of someone in pain or if you a person in pain - for yourself. I can assure you it will be impossible to be dogmatic about sufferers ever again."
Steven D. Passik, Ph.D. , VP, Clinical Research and Advocacy, Millennium Health San Diego, CA

"The many individuals affected by chronic pain would crowd any literary landscape, but Dr. Webster approaches his book by lovingly painting the portraits of the people he has dedicated his life to treating.... The Painful Truth is not an easy read, but it is a wholly worthwhile one."
Pain Medicine News

"Unlike the condensed anecdotes that books like this usually have, your more lengthy, deep, extended portraits were very moving, com- plete and compelling. All the people whose stories you told came across as real people, not made-up examples for the sake of some editorial point. I also liked the second (policy) part of the book very much. The book succeeded admirably in being very sympathetic to both pain patients and people with the disease of addiction. Good job!!!"
Judy Foreman, author of A Nation in Pain - Healing Our Biggest Health Problem from Oxford University Press

"This book should be read by every severe pain patient and pain practitioner. It captures the essence of our dreams and challenges to bring meaningful pain care to every suffering patient."
Forest Tennant M.D., Dr. P.H., Veract Intractable Pain Clinic and Editor, Practical Pain Management