Anyone who is suffering from chronic pain may feel reluctant to pick up a book that talks about what they hope to forget but that would be a mistake. The first step to better health is taking stock of one’s condition and understanding what is needed to get better. For chronic pain sufferers, too often the only treatments given are a series of injections, medications, or surgeries. These have their place but often fall short of alleviating pain to a livable level. For those who acknowledge that this road has not resulted in a complete recovery and who wish to find methods to improve daily life and function, this introduction to natural approaches to pain can open the door to a higher quality of life.

Dr. Marc Micozzi has an impressive resume and years of experience studying complementary and alternative (or integrative medicine), also known as CAM.  With his co-author Sebhia Maria Dibra, this knowledge has been condensed into a well-organized format that a layman can understand and enjoy reading.  All of the CAM treatments in this book have been scientifically studied and the research is footnoted and included in the bibliography. Readers are advised on how to find a qualified practitioner in one’s area through the governing professional body.  In a time when it is hard to know what to believe, the reader can be assured that these are amongst the most tested and effective forms of CAM treatment currently known.

What differentiates this book from others covering the topic is the use of a questionnaire developed to determine what kind of emotional boundary type a patient has. Some people have thin boundaries and others have thick emotional boundaries. Most people are somewhere in between. The questionnaire helps people discover where on this scale they lie. With this information in hand, CAM treatments are assessed for which boundary type most benefits. The idea is to avoid wasting time and money on treatments that are less effective for you.

Treatments are divided into three sections:  mind-body techniques for pain, hands on healing and managing pain with natural products. Each chapter delves into a type of treatment and discusses how it works, what to expect from treatment, what research has found about its effectiveness and of course, which emotional boundary types most benefit.  Some of the topics covered include stress reduction, biofeedback, hypnosis, spiritual healing, massage, chiropractic, nutritional products, essential oils and aromatherapy. In my professional life, I have seen some of these in practice. I was impressed by the information covered, the ease of reading, the obvious familiarity and expertise with the subject matter.

While there is a treasure trove of medical information herein, a few things stood out. The chapter on spiritual healing while short is mind opening with a scientific mind exploring the idea of the nonlocality of consciousness and the entire body being an organ of consciousness. The topic of anxiety and depression and how these interact to make pain worse is given considerable and needed attention with plenty of guidance on how to manage these conditions. In addition to orthopedic ailments, chronic pain from migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and fibromyalgia, are covered. 

CAM treatments can be very helpful in reducing pain, managing symptoms, lessening anxiety and depression secondary to pain. In pain management, there is no magic bullet but there are better ways to manage pain than what is typically offered in standard medicine programs.  Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain is an excellent introduction to integrative medicine options for those suffering from pain, their caretakers and medical professionals interested in the alternatives.
Highly recommended
~review by Larissa Carlson Viana
Authors: Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., PhD. And Sebhia Marie Dibra
2017, Healing Arts Press
pp. 276, $18.95