The New Science of Pain
Margee Kerr and Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Whether you’re suffering from chronic pain or simply curious about the workings of the human body and mind, this book will change the way you think about this fundamental human experience that, directly or indirectly, affects us all.
From the mounting casualties of the opioid crisis to doctors downplaying and misdiagnosing patients’ suffering, we clearly have an increasingly dysfunctional relationship with pain. As children we’re taught to avoid pain at all costs and rely on painkillers to dull even the mildest of aches. Yet this strategy of avoidance and suppression has unexpectedly resulted in our feeling worse.
The first step to feeling better, argue Margee Kerr and Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, is to stop being scared and lean into the pain. In Ouch: The New Science of Pain, they reveal that pain is a rich, layered experience governed not only by the signals tripped the moment a needle pricks our skin, but also by where we are, who we’re with, why we’re there, and our individual history. By understanding the complexity of how pain is made, we can learn in many cases how to reduce the perceived intensity of pain as well as recast and transform the negative emotions – the fear and helplessness – associated with it.
On their journey Kerr and McRobbie seek out pain-sensing robots and pain-seeking parishioners, explore burning bug bites and blissful lashings and witness for themselves – at the Tough Mudder – the power of pain to bring people together. Ultimately, Ouch offers us a deeper understanding of this incredibly subjective yet universal experience, revealing a truth we instinctively know: not all pain is bad, not all pain is harmful. As they discover, pain can be not just useful, but even rewarding.
Through immersive reporting, in-depth interviews and original research, Ouch takes us on an adventure to discover that pain is not just something that happens to us, and that we have more control over our experience than we think.