I have to hand it to Peter Abaci, MD for attempting to summarize the often complex mechanisms and myriad of treatments for chronic pain in his 2010 book “Take Charge of Your Chronic Pain”. As he discusses, no two patients are the same as far as anatomy, emotions, background, and lifestyle that all contribute to the term labeled chronic pain. Therefore, treating them is just as individual as their sensations. I completely agree with Dr. Abaci’s multi-displinary approach that takes into account the whole person, rather than just another “back pain sufferer”.  Too often, modern medicine focuses on the symptoms, utilizing a plethora of pharmaceuticals to mask the pain.  Dr. Abaci recommends a hard look at the patient’s entire lifestyle and situation to create a healing plan.

You cannot dispute that chronic pain is a rampant problem in American society – whether caused by an injury, disease, or lifestyle choices.  But the way our allopathic medical system often treats pain is to look at the particular body part and attempt to fix just that.  Dr. Abaci brings to the forefront the other factors contributing to chronic pain – poor nutrition, lack of movement, fear, insufficient sleep, pessimistic mood, unhappy home life, and workplace stress. He talks about the mind/body connection, and how this plays a big part in what you are feeling in your body.

Dr. Abaci takes us through some of his most effective tools to fight pain – good nutrition, movement/exercise, social interaction, good sleep hygiene, reducing stress, breathing, art therapy, controlling your mind/thoughts, and acceptance. “Take Charge of Your Chronic Pain” is one of the best books I have seen that nicely summarizes these tools and gives practical tips for moving towards health. The most important advice in this book is to MOVE YOUR BODY.  Oftentimes, chronic pain sufferers are afraid that movement will cause additional pain or hinder healing.  In a lot of cases, movement is just the thing that is needed.  It can be as simple as walking or practicing the gentle movements of tai chi.

I believe that part of the problem with chronic pain sufferers, is that they want their health care practitioner to “fix” the problem – that is, they do not want to make the effort take charge of their life. Maybe the thought pattern goes like this – If someone else is responsible my health, I cannot be held accountable for failure. If you take the time to learn & know your body – who better to help heal it than yourself?  Dr. Abaci urges people to take control of their lives, and I applaud that.

I highly recommend this book for anyone suffering from chronic pain, illness, and/or disease. It can give you some excellent tools for dealing with the pain, and improving your life.