A doctor’s personal and unsparing account of how modern medicine’s failure to understand pain has made care less effective

In The Song of Our Scars, physician Haider Warraich offers a bold reexamination of the nature of pain, not as a simple physical sensation, but as a cultural experience.

Warraich, himself a sufferer of chronic pain, considers the ways our notions of pain have been shaped not just by science but by politics and power, by whose suffering mattered and whose didn’t. He weaves a provocative history from the Renaissance, when pain transformed into a medical issue, through the racial legacy of pain tolerance, to the opiate epidemics of both the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, to the cutting edge of present-day pain science. The conclusion is clear: only by reckoning with both pain’s complicated history and its biology can today’s doctors adequately treat their patients’ suffering.

Trenchant and deeply felt, The Song of Our Scars is an indictment of a broken system and a plea for a more holistic understanding of the human body. 

What's Inside

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"In this insightful and humane book about pain, suffering and survival, Warraich once again braids history and personal history to confront questions both ancient and contemporary. It is a marvelous read.”—Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies
"As physician-author Haider Warrich aptly points out, ‘Almost everything we know about pain and how we treat it is wrong.’ His masterful new book is a unique, panoramic and deep view of pain, taking us through his personal experience, its history and evolution, the science, and the massive corporate corruption that undermined the opioid epidemic. An incredible book."—Dr. Eric Topol, author of Deep Medicine
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