Singing Dragon
Authoritative books on complementary and alternative health, Tai Chi, Qigong and ancient wisdom traditions for health, wellbeing, and professional and personal development.

London • Philadelphia • Sydney • Vancouver

The Mystery of Pain

Douglas Nelson

Why does scratching an itch feel so good? Why is pain from a mosquito bite preferable to the same pain from an unidentified source?

Douglas Nelson provides the reader with a comprehensive, practical and highly accessible guide to the scientific understanding of pain. The book explores the different types of pain, providing clear explanations of the processes involved within the body. It examines key issues such as diagnosis and measurement of pain, the placebo effect and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), and takes an in depth look at causes and treatment for chronic pain. The book is full of practical advice and small changes one can make to improve the effectiveness of pain treatment.

Presented as a personal tutorial for understanding the psychology of pain, this book will be useful for practitioners, patients, and the general reader alike. It will be of particular interest to psychologists, alternative medicine practitioners, massage therapists and psychotherapists.


Preface: Understanding that I Don't Understand. 1. A Deeper Understanding. 2. Alarms and Fires and Alarms Without Fires. 3. That Which Can be Known, But Not Seen. 4. Nocere. 5. Modulation. 6. Central Sensitization. 7. When the System Goes Awry: Sensitization. 8. Meaning and Context. 9. Attention. 10. Fear. Memory and Pain. Fear and Hypervigilance. Fear of Movement. Diagnosis and Fear. 11. Placebo. 12. Trigger Points. 13. Phantom Limb. 14. Social Support. 15. Fibromyalgia. 16. The Pendulum. Index.


'It's a joy to help alleviate pain. It's equally frustrating to see a patient return with chronic pain that was at best temporarily eased. The Mystery of Pain puts those cases in context, providing an excellent framework for both patients and health care providers to understand why what works for one may not work for another. Douglas' use of current research and familiar examples clearly explain the revolutionary changes influencing our approach to a growing problem. I highly recommend it for anyone suffering from or treating pain.'
- Celia Bucci MA, LMT, author of Condition-Specific Massage Therapy

'This is a very well-organized book, interesting and accessible for laypeople and health care professionals alike.'
- Elisabeth Preston-Hsu, MD, MPH, physiatrist

'Douglas Nelson's book The Mystery of Pain is a compassionate work from the heart, very important for anyone who wishes to understand healing and to be healed. In this book, we are assisted with deep empathy to open doors to explore this mystery of pain in multiple dimensions. It's a lifelong journey to acknowledge this awareness, one of the universal noble truths we must learn to embrace. Thank you, Douglas, for your compassionate and learned guidance.'
- Chungliang Al Huang, founder-president of the Living Tao Foundation and author of Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The Essence of Tai Ji

Author information

Douglas Nelson is a licensed massage therapist from Champaign, Illinois (USA) and has been in practice since 1977. In addition to his therapy clinic with multiple practitioners, his teaching institute (NMT MidWest) has conducted hundreds of seminars in Precision Neuromuscular Therapy to manual therapy providers in the USA and abroad.

The Mystery of Pain

add to basket

2013, Paperback: £15.99/ $25.00
ISBN: 978-1-84819-152-5, 234mm x 156mm / 9.25in x 6in, 224pp


Singing Dragon is an imprint of Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Jessica Kingsley Publishers is a limited company registered in England. Registered number: 2073602. VAT Reg. No: 455 2134 66.

© 1996, 2014 Jessica Kingsley Publishers.