The best books on chronic pain that provide you with the understanding to start recovering from it

Who am I?

As a physiotherapist for 25 years, chronic pain has always fascinated me. Understanding the variety of factors that contribute to its development and continuance always felt enigmatic. It always seemed I was missing part of the puzzle or that the patient was. The pathway of trial and error, accident, and luck were part of a slow and frustrating journey to my level of understanding today. My recommendations have been fundamental pieces of my learning and as well as my own work, now contribute to one possible pathway for other patients and clinicians to interpret chronic pain and recover from it without the historic difficulty that many have attempted to overcome.


I wrote...

The Pain Habit: Your Journey To Recovery. Discover the Truth About Your Pain

By Drew Coverdale,

Book cover of The Pain Habit: Your Journey To Recovery. Discover the Truth About Your Pain

What is my book about?

Are you one of the one in five people worldwide who suffer from a condition that results in living with persistent pain? The ability to recover from pain, no matter how long we have experienced it, lies within all of us. It exists within you.

Not everyone knows how to achieve that. Do you? Those who do recover intuitively tap into that ability without thinking. Others don't know where to look, then look everywhere outside of themselves, then believe recovery is impossible and finally stop looking anymore. Has that happened to you? If you've suffered long enough and feel ready to take the steps towards becoming pain-free, you're ready for this book.

The books I picked & why

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Explain Pain

By David Butler, G. Lorimer Moseley,

Book cover of Explain Pain

Why this book?

I found explain pain an amazing book to help make the transition from a biomedical pursuit of pain from the clinician to one that incorporates a biopsychosocial approach to persistent pain resolution for the patient. I loved the way the technical descriptions are weaved into clinical applications and the layout makes a very complicated subject fascinating, fun, and interesting to learn more about. The physiological and neuroscientific framing helped me explain to patients confidently when challenging outdated beliefs around pain, which are often the greatest barrier to overcoming it. 


Chronic Pain: Your Key to Recovery

By Georgie Oldfield,

Book cover of Chronic Pain: Your Key to Recovery

Why this book?

When I came across Georgie’s book I absolutely devoured its content. Knowing that she had spent time with Dr. John Sarno outlined how passionate she was about her work in this mind-body field. She provided me with inspiration for writing my own book and having personally connected with her, I know her book is as authentic as she is. I found the explanations helpful and easily understandable and it propelled me with so much more enthusiasm for further reading around this subject.


When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

By Gabor Maté,

Book cover of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Why this book?

This book was a game-changer for me in terms of my understanding of the link between pain and stress. It was absolutely fascinating to see how various body systems failed under stress and how Gabor outlined the case studies from his patients to illustrate this. The amazing thing with these stress-related illnesses was that pain comes before many of them manifest. So being able to explain the true meaning of pain and the importance of preventing other disease processes, became my mission after finishing his amazing book.


The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

By Alex Korb,

Book cover of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

Why this book?

This book helped me grasp the unconscious nature of most of our behaviours and the neuroscience behind it. This was so important to me to understand how pain is wired within us, so that you can translate that back to a patient in a way they understand it. When I learned about the neuroscientific drivers behind pain and precipitating behaviours I realised that blame was so easy to remove from the patient and clinician vocabulary when helping someone towards recover.  It made so much common sense to me and has been a great help in helping change people's perceptions and behaviours around their pain. 


The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain

By Alan Gordon, Alon Ziv,

Book cover of The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain

Why this book?

Alan Gordon is such a great communicator and his book spoke to me personally. It probably does the same for many others and his compassionate tone outlines the reasons why pain can become persistent. The same calming explanations also offer real opportunities to reverse the pain and they are all based on scientific research. This gives validation to their use and their practical application is so easy to apply by simply reading the descriptions. I felt really excited that this book in particular could start to create a push back against many years of medical dogma, and support both patients and clinicians in this emerging field of healthcare for those in persistent pain.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in chronic pain, stress, and alternative medicine?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about chronic pain, stress, and alternative medicine.

Chronic Pain Explore 7 books about chronic pain
Stress Explore 8 books about stress
Alternative Medicine Explore 20 books about alternative medicine

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The War of Art, Building a Life Worth Living, and Buddha's Brain if you like this list.