Principles & Practice of Pain Medicine, 2nd Edition. By Carol A. Warfield and Zahid H. Bajwa. New York, NY, McGraw-Hill, 2004. ISBN: 0-07-144349-5. Pages: 938. Price: $99.00.

The growth and interest in the practice of pain medicine over the past decade by an increasingly diverse group of practitioners (e.g. , anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, and physical medicine and rehabilitation practicioners) reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the field of pain medicine. The continued interest in pain medicine has also been paralleled by an increase in the number of textbooks on pain management and medicine. For many practitioners of pain medicine, it is often difficult to find a comprehensive yet manageable textbook of pain medicine. Some review-type textbooks do not provide enough clinically meaningful information, and the bulk of some of the larger, although comprehensive, textbooks, makes them unlikely to be read from cover to cover.

In the new (second) edition of Principles & Practice of Pain Medicine , Drs. Warfield and Bajwa have assembled an internationally recognized group of pain medicine experts from a variety of specialties to produce a rather comprehensive yet readable textbook of pain medicine. As noted in their preface, the editors have modified the contents of the second edition (along with the title, which was Principles and Practice of Pain Medicine  in the first edition) to reflect the breadth and growth in the field of pain medicine. All of the chapters have been significantly updated from the first edition, and new chapters covering topics such as legal and ethical issues and business administration have been added, as the field of pain medicine touches on many facets outside clinical medicine.

One of the first things the reader notes is how effortless the text is to read. The chapters are well-written and organized with a sufficient number of tables and figures to complement the text. A reader can easily read through several chapters in one sitting. The book consists of 87 chapters divided into major sections of anatomy and physiology (three chapters), general principles and evaluation (eight chapters), psychological evaluation and treatment (five chapters), pain by anatomical location (20 chapters), pain syndromes (21 chapters), pain therapies (22 chapters), and administration and the law (eight chapters). Anesthesiology-trained pain physicians would probably be most familiar and comfortable with the sections on anatomy and physiology, pain syndromes, and pain therapies, and these sections are relatively concise in their description of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of each particular pain state. However, what anesthesiology-trained pain physicians will especially appreciate about this textbook are the chapters and sections regarding topics that may not be part of their clinical practice or may not be emphasized in their training.

For instance, the several chapters on headaches may be a valuable resource for practitioners who do not routinely see patients with headaches. In addition, chapters on acupuncture and outcome measurements in pain medicine provide a resource that may not be present in other pain textbooks. Finally, the new section on administration and the law is a worthwhile addition to this edition, as our current practice environment requires us to consider many nonclinical aspects when we practice pain medicine. The editors should be commended for including and addressing some of the current topics in pain medicine today. One feature that might increase the value of this textbook would be to consistently include diagnostic and procedural coding for all procedures. The chapter on spinal canal endoscopy included coding for diagnosis and procedural coding; however, other procedural chapters did not. This is certainly a minor issue that should not dissuade anyone from acquiring a copy of this excellent textbook.

The field of pain medicine has seen tremendous growth in the past decade and continues to evolve to incorporate many clinical and nonclinical aspects. In the second edition of Principles & Practice of Pain Medicine , Drs. Warfield and Bajwa have done a commendable job in updating their textbook to provide the community with a relatively comprehensive yet concise textbook of pain medicine. This textbook may also be useful for those preparing for various certifications in pain medicine. All practitioners of pain medicine will find this textbook a valuable addition to their library.

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.