Living with pain

'Work and pain: A lifespan development approach', edited by Elaine Wainwright and Christopher Eccleston (Oxford University Press; £29.99). Reviewed by Dr Hannah Twiddy.

Work and pain is a very welcome addition to the office bookcase. The book takes a very engaging and readable meander through the life chapters of living with chronic pain; childhood through adolescence, emerging adulthood and older adult life. However, it goes further in terms of embedding this within the socio-cultural context of schooling and occupation. Despite having worked for many years as a Clinical Psychologist in chronic pain services this book has much novelty to offer in terms of how we can apply the knowledge that we already have and the demand for further investigation into the systems and social policy that shape an individual’s experience in living with pain.

Two chapters that stood out for me were ‘Emerging adulthood: Millennials, work and pain’ and ‘The psychology of pain-related disability: Implications for intervention’. The former focuses on generationally relevant behaviours in the context of medical illness and pain, touching on the growing relevance of social media and technology in the lives of emerging and young adults. The latter clearly outlines psychological variables and mental health factors that impact on optimal management of chronic pain with particular attention to a return to occupational settings.

The chapters all harbour meaty reference sections and you really feel you have been taken through an excellent summary of each area without being plunged into a heavy academic tome. This book will be of particular relevance to psychologists with an interest in the psychological and social consequences of living with chronic physical illness as well as the reciprocal relationship of the working environment. It would also engage psychologists who work in civil litigation and are routinely asked to comment upon the role of occupation and the management of pain in work environments. This book will definitely take place as a handy reference manual to the context of employment in chronic pain.

- Reviewed by Dr Hannah Twiddy, Clinical Psychologist, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

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