cover image Paintracking: Your Personal 
Guide to Living Well with Chronic Pain

Paintracking: Your Personal Guide to Living Well with Chronic Pain

Deborah Barrett. Prometheus, $20 trade paper (375p) ISBN 978-1-61614-513-2

As a Ph.D. student at Stanford University in 1994, psychotherapist Barrett began to feel symptoms that led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndromes. Through her ordeal, she developed an intricate system of charting changes in her physical, mental, and emotional states to assess the effects of myriad variables (weather, medications, professional and home treatments, lifestyle choices, etc.) on her condition. With great empathy and insight into the prejudices that many patients encounter from physicians and caretakers, as well as their own resistance to exercise and social activities, Barrett urges readers to direct their care through recording patterns that emerge in the up-and-down cycle typical of many chronic pain sufferers. While some may shy from the time-intensive system, others will be encouraged by stories of those who have personalized it to their needs and been able to resume active social lives, improve their sleep, start exercise routines, and make wiser medical decision. She offers numerous strategies for locating and articulating pain; overcoming negative mindsets; increasing quality of life; communicating effectively with medical professionals; coping with chores, travel, and holidays; identifying fraudulent products and services; and smoothing strained family and work relationships. Although Barrett does not promise an end to pain, her encyclopedic guide to leading a satisfying life will help readers tame what she calls “pain’s cruel whims.” (Feb.)