Anatomies of Pain.

William B. Bean, M.D.
AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(5):841. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270050163027.
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In the present day, when analogies with mechanical and electronic models have obsessed the attention and preempted the enthusiasm of neurophysiologists, it is especially rewarding to go back to clinical observations and their long and sometimes tortuous history. The formidable title, "The Anatomies of Pain," seemed forbidding, and I wistfully looked at the book, which lay on the shelf for months before I managed to get it open. But when I did I found it thoroughly absorbing and well worth the wait. Essentially, this is a study of historical attitudes toward pain, with a description of our current-day formulations and understandings of the problem as these have emerged with our growing understanding of neurologic and emotional processes and reactions.

Pain cannot be understood detached from semantic, cultural, and emotional forces, even though we may know of essential neurophysiological mechanisms of the transmittal of electric current along paths of the nervous


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