Startling new science reveals the truth about chronic pain

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Jessica DuLong

Published June 27, 2022

“Medicine is nothing more than a misguided miseducation in mortal misery.”

That’s not something you’d expect to hear from a doctor, especially one with the bona fides of Haider Warraich, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

The “misguided miseducation” of Western medicine, he argues, stems from “turning persons into patients and healers into providers, and by separating the body from the mind, physical sensations from emotional states and pain from suffering.”

The misery that Warraich investigates in his new book, “The Song of Our Scars: The Untold Story of Pain,” is chronic pain, which affects an estimated 1 in 5 people worldwide, including Warraich. That’s about 1.5 billion people.

Longtime battles with debilitating back pain nearly thwarted his medical career. Today, he brings his experiences as both physician and patient to his examination of the nature and history of pain. Condemning modern medicine’s failures, he calls for a more holistic, interdisciplinary approach.