No matter how far we travel on our journey from patient to person, there will always be a need for new information and fresh ways of looking at things. The books in this list can provide insight, information, perspective, enjoyment, and challenges.

Compiled by Blair Hurst

Pain Management

Coping With Illness by Helen Garvy, Shire Press, 1995. ISBN 091882818. Available in paperback.
Chronic illness creates new problems, accentuates already existing problems and upsets the balance in our lives and relationships, this author tells us. Her book gives both practical advice for day-to-day coping and suggestions for tackling what lies ahead.

Endometriosis Sourcebook: the Definitive Guide to Current
The title of the book says it all. Written by women for women, this book combats misinformation with fact, isolation with support, and fear with hope. The format of the book combines real-life stories with clinical information.

Fibromyalgia: a Comprehensive Approach by Miryam Williamson,
This is a good source for information and practical advice about fibromyalgia. Each chapter includes a case history that helps the reader understand the topic being discussed. Of special interest are the chapters that cover related illnesses, pain medicines, sleep deprivation, and fibromyalgia in children.

Living Creatively with Chronic Illness: Developing Skills for Transcending the Loss, Pain and Frustration by Eugenic E. Wheeler and Joyce Doce-Lombard, Pathfinder Publishing, 1989. ISBN 0934793174.
Available in paperback. This book reinforces many of the concepts in ACPA literature. The quotations sprinkled add a personal touch to the book.

Living Well with a Hidden Disability: Transcending Doubt and Shame and reclaiming Your Life, by Stacy Taylor and Robert Epstein
This is an interactive book with plenty of self-assessment tools, quotations, and sample dialogues. It is an affirming book; the author challenges beliefs that blame an ill person for their condition. Readers will relate to the insights into the anguish and frustration of being undiagnosed or having a diagnosis that is disparaged.

Lost Voices, Women, Chronic Pain and Abuse by Nellie
In the process of treating women for chronic pain, the author realized that their personal lives effected their level of suffering. The stories of suffering women are followed by Radomsky’s reflections on how women have been silenced by the medical culture and how they can learn to speak out and begin to heal.

Mastering Pain: A Twelve Step Program for Coping With Chronic
This is not a 12-step “recovery” program but a book about twelve specific behaviors and attitudes a person needs to cultivate in order to manage chronic pain and live well despite the pain.

Meeting the Challenge: Living With Chronic Illness by Audrey Kron, 1996. ISBN 0963387715. Available in paperback.
In this question and answer book, the author’s own chronic illness gives her the perspective for making suggestions about balancing a normal life style with chronic illness.

Migraine by Oliver Sacks, M.D., Vintage Books, 1999. ISBN
This is an expanded and updated version of the author’s classic book about migraines. Oliver Sacks’ insight, compassion and interpretations of the migraine experience make the book interesting to lay people as well as medical professionals. Case studies are followed by analysis by Dr. Sacks.

No More Aching Back: Dr. Root’s 15 Minutes a Day Program for a
“Welcome to my office,” begins this conversational and informative book. If you’ve wondered about the techniques orthopedists use to examine and diagnose your pain, you can find out here. The author covers the essentials of back problems and back care in a reassuring personal manner.

Numb Toes and Aching Soles: Coping with Peripheral
The author, a peripheral neuropathy (PN) patient, explains the causes, symptoms, tests, and treatments- both conventional and alternative-for PN. Over 200 patients reveal which treatments work for them and which didn’t. Experimental drugs are covered and there are special sections dealing with diabetic and HIV-related neuropathies.

Pain In Children: Nature, Assessment and Treatment by Patricia A.
This book, used as a textbook for health care professionals, is based on clinical research and the professional experience of the author. If you had pain as a child, or know a child who has pain, this book will be enlightening and helpful. Among other things, the author dispels the myth that infants and children do not perceive pain.

Relief From Back Pain: The Tollison Program by C. David Tollison,
The book provides information about the anatomy of pain, theories of back pain, and psychological factors related to pain. The author presents a clear explanation of conservative treatments and provides a guide for reconditioning the body.

Shingles and PHN by Thomas Carl Thomsen, Cross River Press,
Mr. Thomsen shares coping strategies that helped him during his years of living with PHN. He believes that positive coping begins with an individual being involved in their own recovery. He details the disease process, treatment, and current research.

The Arthritis Helpbook by Kate Loring, R.N., Ph.D., and James F.
Available in paperback. Because no one arthritis treatment is right for everyone, this book explains a variety of techniques that may help relieve pain, maintain or increase mobility, and prevent deformity. The book has an excellent chapter on relaxation.

The Culture of Pain by David B. Morris, University of California Press, 1991. ISBN 0520082761. Available in paperback.
This book is a scholarly exploration of the history of pain in Western culture, literature, and fine arts. If you want to deeply explore the meaning of pain throughout the centuries and in today’s culture, this is a good resource.

We Are Not Alone: Living With Chronic Illness by Sefra Kobrin Pitzels, Workman Publications, 1986. ISBN 0894801392. Available in paperback.
The book begins with a description of the author’s life when chronic illness, Lupus, overwhelmed her and concludes when her illness is manageable. Especially noteworthy are the chapters that discuss the impact of chronic illness on the family, talking to children about illness, keeping friendships, and dealing with health care providers.

Young People and Chronic Illness: True Stories, Help, and Hope
In this book, written for ages 9-12, the young author shares the strategies that have helped her to cope and regain control of her life. Her five tips for dealing with a diagnosis: educate yourself, stay positive, express your feelings, be a team player, give people a chance to support you.

Inspiration and Humor

Carnal Acts: Essays by Nancy Mairs, Beacon Press, 1996. ISBN
The author, who has multiple sclerosis, skillfully writes about how to transcend chronic illness. One of the more provocative essays is “Challenge: An Exploration,” in which she explains why she prefers the term “cripple” to phrases such as “physically challenged.”

Finding the Way Home: A Compassionate Approach to Illness by
This is a pamphlet of thoughtful reflections about living with illness. The author ponders the life-altering emotional and spiritual shifts that take place when we confront and come to terms with human vulnerability. Topics include the nature of healing and the difference between pain and suffering.

Flying Without Wings: Personal Reflections on Loss, Disability,
This is a wise and compassionate book-no wonder it is an inspirational classic. The author, a disabled psychiatrist, shares his struggle and teaches the reader how to transcend pain and live a richly rewarding life.

Glacier Journey (A video and audio journey) Red Moose Productions, Evergreen, MT, (406) 752-0394,
If you want to remove yourself from your surroundings and redirect your thoughts, this is the perfect tool. Nature and music-in perfect harmony! The video has twelve classical musical selections beautifully framing scenes of Glacier National Park.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, Washington Square
This is an international best selling book about suffering and the power of hope and meaning. Viktor Frankl, a physician and scholar, writes about his philosophy of life, a philosophy that enabled him to survive three years in Auschwitz. Frankl’s teaching is that when we find meaning in our suffering, we are transformed.

Patient or Person: Living With Chronic Pain by Penney Cowan,
Penney Cowan is the founder of the ACPA. In this book, she opens her heart and tells the story of how she turned her life around while in a pain management clinic. Penney shares her deeply personal struggle to change herself from a confused and angry patient to the self-aware person who founded the international ACPA.

The Day Room: A Memoir of Madness and Mending by Kathleen
When a medical error caused chronic pain in the author she had a long journey for justice and for and relief from her pain. As the story unfolds, the author shares how she learned to cope and how she re-created a happy life despite her pain.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner,
The author teaches us how to turn terrible situations into positive experiences. While telling of the tragic illness and death of his son, he teaches the reader his philosophy of life: take time to love each other and enjoy every moment.

Psychology and Self-Help

Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion by Carol Tavris, Touchstone,
Drawing on research, Tavris dispels common myths about the causes and expression of anger, telling us that when it comes to anger, we have the capacity for choice and control. Read this book to learn strategies for coping with common anger problems and getting beyond anger.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron, Vintage
In 1985, William Styron, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, suffered from depression. Those who know the dark night of depression will find an eloquent voice for their experience. Although about depression, the book is uplifting in the end.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, Wholecare,
Burns observed that his depressed patients had distorted thinking patterns and when they learned how to change their distorted thoughts, their depression lifted. Using forms and charts Burns helps the reader learn to overcome negative, depressive thinking. The companion book, The Feeling Good Workbook, expands on the author’s program.

Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitefield, M.D., Health
The “Child Within” is that part of us that is alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled-it is our real self-who we really are. This book tells how growing up in a troubled environment can stifle this Child Within, and how we can recover what was damaged or lost. This is one of the best books about the inner child.

Overcoming Depression by Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice
This is a comprehensive book on depression that explains the nature of the illness, the varied treatments including antidepressants and other drugs, how the illness affects the family, and how to deal with the world after recovering.

The Angry Book by Theodore I. Rubin, Touchstone Books, 1998. ISBN 0684842017. Available in paperback.
Rubin describes different types of anger and explains a variety of appropriate responses. Anger that is not handled constructively can lead to further problems. Dr. Rubin assures us that we all get angry because we are all human.

The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing Patterns of
The author uses case studies to illustrate situations that cause anger and how best to handle them. She emphasizes how self-awareness is a very important part of dealing with anger.

When I Say “No” I Feel Guilty by Dr. Manual J. Smith, Bantam, 1988. ISBN 0553263900. Available in paperback.
Have you ever felt you lacked the skills to achieve what you wanted without losing your temper or self-respect? If so, this book is certainly worth reading. It discusses how to cope with people-especially difficult ones.

Journal Keeping

Recovering: A Journal by May Sarton, W.W. Norton, 1980. ISBN
May Sarton, a poet and writer, kept this journal while recuperating from loss and illness. This is a book of beautiful language and wonderful insights.

The New Diary by Tristine Rainer, J.P. Tarcher, Inc., 1979.
Keeping a journal or diary can be much more than a rigid calendar with entries about the day’s events. Read this book to learn how to tap inner resources, solve problems, bring joy into your life, and to clarify goals. This is still one of the best books about journal keeping that you’ll find.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie
Learn how to express yourself in writing without the self-consciousness learned in school. Plenty of writing exercises, the author opens the door to writing is the door that may have been shut by a teacher’s red marking pencil.

Mind and Body

Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient by Norman Cousins, Doubleday, 1981. ISBN 05533443653. Available in paperback.
The book tells the story of how Cousins rallied all his inner resources and used humor and laughter to overcome what was supposed to an “incurable” disease.

Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, Bantam, 1982. ISBN
The book is an introduction and workbook for learning and using creative visualization to improve health, happiness, and well being.

Getting Unstuck: Breaking Through Your Barriers to Change by Dr.Sidney B. Simon, Warner Books, 1989. ISBN 0446390240. Available in paperback.
If life with chronic pain is holding you back from a positive rewarding life, this book may help. Here you can learn techniques to identify what is important to you and how to identify all of your options.

Healers on Healing edited by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. and Benjamin
Here you will find essays and articles by today’s leaders in healing and alternative medicine. Each writer, including Bernie Siegel, Gerald Jampolsky, Hugh Prather, and Lynn Andrews, try to find “the golden thread” that ties divergent ideas together.

Health and Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D., Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
This is an excellent resource for learning about alternative medicine. Dr.Weil explains the history, theory, and treatments of practices like osteopathy, holistic medicine, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and a myriad of other types of medical treatments and philosophies.

Healthy Pleasures by Robert Ornstein, Ph.D., and David Sobel, M.D.,
The authors, a brain researcher and an expert in preventative medicine, show how simple pleasures- a hug, a movie, a bubble bath, an occasional hot fudge sundae-have a positive effect on our ability to ward off disease.

Minding the Body, Mending the Mind by Joan Borsenko, Ph.D., Bantam Books, 1993. ISBN: 0553345567. Available in paperback and audiocassette.
It is important to learn to relax-and this book tells you how. With easy to understand explanations and plenty of reassurance, Borsenko describes how to evoke the relaxation response, a state of mind and body that helps the body overcome the physical and emotional effects of stress.

Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things
Since much of pain management is about simplifying our lives, this is a handy little book. St. James’ shows how to identify priorities and act accordingly. The essays are short and to the point, as in her other books on the topic.

The 22 (Non-Negotiable) Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson
The author, who once had life-threatening cancer, has gleaned ideas from Bernie Siegel and others and distilled them into these 22 simple insights. Personal success stories that tell how individuals overcame seemingly impossible odds to achieve goals illustrate his laws.

The Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help or Heal
Kreiger, a professor of nursing, developed and organized the ancient art of using the hands, heart, and intuition to relieve distress in another human being by smoothing the energy field that surrounds them. This book teaches the reader how to use their hands in this powerful way.

Diet and Exercise

Chronic Fatigue: Your Complete Exercise Guide by Neil F. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., MPH Human Kinetics Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0673223934. Available in paperback.
This is a book that can teach those with chronic fatigue how to judge what is the appropriate level of physical exertion for them. Next, it provides the reader with diagrams and illustrations that explain how each exercise should be done.

Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition by Andrew Weil, M.D., Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. ISBN 0375407545. Available in paperback and audiocassette.
Although trained in traditional medicine, Weil is also a proponent of alternative treatments. Here he reviews today’s dietary fads and trends, indicating the problems inherent to them. He goes on to promote an eating plan, which includes fruit, vegetables, and olive oil. The book includes suggested menus and recipes.

Foods That Fight Pain: Revolutionary New Strategies for Maximum Pain Relief by Neal Barnard, M.D., Harmony Books, 1998. ISBN0375407162. Available in paperback and cassette.
The book examines the connection between health and diet. The author claims that eating a nutritionally balanced diet can strengthen the immune system thereby reducing or even eliminating uncomfortable symptoms. Each chapter investigates an issue such as trigger foods and hidden allergies.

Stretching: The 20th Anniversary by Bob Anderson, Shelter Publications, 2000. ISBN 0936070226. Available in paperback and video.
This is probably one of the best books about stretching on the market. It shows you how to stretch and strengthen the muscles in every part of the body and for every level of physical ability.


Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregiver by Rosalynn
A survey of caregivers helped Ms. Carter, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, identify and describe their needs and feelings. The survey revealed, among other things, that caregivers credit this role for providing them with personal growth, satisfaction, and greater insight into people. The book includes resources for caregivers.

Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstandings, Resolve Conflicts, and Solve Relationship Problems Through Cognitive Therapy by Aaron T. Beck, Harper Collins 1988. ISBN 0965717909. Available in paperback.
Here is a practical guide for couples who want to enrich and sustain their marriage. Although love is important, Beck says that mates need to cooperate, compromise, and be tolerant of each other’s flaws and mistakes.

Mainstay: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill by Maggie Strong, Bradford Books, 1997. ISBN 0965717909.
To gain insight into what it is like to be the well spouse of a person with a chronic illness, read this book. Woven through the story of her life are issues such as sex, guilt, and feeling trapped.

The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., Workman
This is a small book, only four by six inches, which can be a tool for self-discovery and a way to start conversations with your family or friends. Each page has one question, such as Who would you want as a dinner guest?

The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D., Harper and
Written by the same author who wrote The Dance of Anger, this book describes the “dance” or steps we take toward and away from each other in an effort to maintain or avoid intimacy.

Self Care

Daring to Be Yourself by Alexandra Stoddard, Doubleday, 1992. ISBN 0380715783. Available in paperback.
Does chronic pain confine you to your home more than you like? This book’s message is to identify what is positive and life enhancing for you, then put these things into your life, your home, and your heart. Stoddard calls this a treasure hunt.

Healing Environments by Carol Venolia, Celestial Arts, 1988. ISBN
You can change the quality of your life by making changes in your home and this book explains how light, color, sound (and noise), temperature and air quality can effect your health and self-esteem. Offers many specific suggestions for improving the quality of life in your home.

Jane Brody’s Good Food Book by Jane Brody, Doubleday, 1987.
Jane Brody, who writes the Personal Health column for The New York Times begins with nutrition basics and concludes with cooking tips and recipes based on nutritionally sound principles.

Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell and The Clean House Team, Dell
The author, a man who’s “Clean Team” cleans 15,000 homes a year, has identified the best products and the easiest ways to clean EVERYTHING in a home.


On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays edited by Richard Reynolds,
This is a collection of stories, poems, and essays about what it is like to be sick or well. Physicians and “just plain folks” wrote the collection that draws from a wide range of sources including a poem by John Donne (1572-1631) and a short story by Ernest Hemingway.

Books on Sexuality

  • Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions. Lorig, Kate, et al. Bull Publishing Co. c2000.
  • Living, Loving and Laughing with Pain. Pliskin, Jacqueline J. (publisher unknown) c1995.
  • Love and Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health. Ornish, Dean. Perennial a division of HarperCollins. c1999.
  • Mayo Clinic on Chronic Pain: Lead a More Active and Productive Life. Swanson, David, ed.Mayo Clinic Health Services. c1999.
  • Pathways to Intimacy: Communicating With Care and Resolving Differences. Kellogg, Terry and Harrison, Marvel E. BRAT Pub. c1994.
  • Reclaiming Intimacy in Your Marriage and Plans for Facing Life’s Ebb and Flow . . . Together. Bruce, Robert. Bethany House. c1996.
  • Sex, Love and Chronic Illness. Carlton, Lucille. National Parkinson Foundation. c1994.
  • Sexual Function in People with Disability and Chronic Illness: A Health Professional’s Guide. Sipski, Marca and Alexander, Craig. Aspen Pub. c1997.
  • Sexuality and Chronic Illness: A Comprehensive Approach. Schover, Leslie R. and Jensen, Soren B. Guilford Publications. c1988
  • Shadows of Pain: Intimacy and Sexual Problems in Family Life. Pillari, Vimala. Jason Aronson Publishers. c1996.
  • Silver Linings: Triumphs of the Chronically Ill and Physically Challenged. Engle, Shaena, ed. Prometheus Books. c1997.
  • The Dance of Intimacy Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D, Harriet, Harper and Row, 1990.
  • The Illustrated Guide to Better Sex for People With Chronic Pain. Rothrock, Robert W. et al. R. Rothrock & G. D’Amore Publishers. c1992.
  • The Senior’s Guide to Pain-Free Living. Dollemore, Doug. Rodale Press, Inc. c 2000.
  • Winning With Arthritis: How to Beat Arthritis and Take Control of Your Life. McIlwain, Harris H. et al. John Wiley & Sons. c1997.
  • Winning with Chronic Pain: A Complete Program for Health and Well-Being. Bruce, Deborah, et al. Prometheus Books. c1994.