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Chronic Pain book

Many patients use opioids for chronic pain, but over-prescribing by doctors has been cited as a major reason for the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic.

Now, the medical director of UW Health’s pain clinic has teamed up with other pain experts at UW and elsewhere to publish a book on the topic.

“Chronic Pain: The Patient and Family Journey,” is edited by Alaa Abd-Elsayed, who heads up UW Health’s pain clinic on South Park Street.

The 173-page paperback explores the science and social ramifications of pain, and summarizes medications and non-drug treatments for pain, such as nerve stimulators.

It explains the different kinds of opioids and how doctors came to use them more in the 1990s after the drugs were recommended to treat cancer-related pain.

“Physicians began prescribing opioids ... for various disorders such as back pain, joint pain and pain disorders,” the book says. “Thus, the use of opioids continues to spread from the world of cancer pain to chronic pain without any evidence-based justification.”

The book, published in December, is available at

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David Wahlberg is the health and medicine reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.