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What Pain Providers Read This Year – and Why You Should Read Them Too

Pain-treating clinicians share the articles and books that impacted their practice and thinking the most (exclusive of the pandemic) in 2020.


PPM's Recommended Reading
from the Editorial Advisory Board

What pain management clinicians read and recommended the most in 2020


Let’s face it, clinicians have not had a lot of “free time” in 2020 but when they did take a moment to try and de-stress, here are the articles and books they found most helpful and insightful.


Srinivas R. Nalamachu, MD
Founder and Medical Director, Overland Park, KS

Recommended Read: The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care – and How to Fix It, by Marty Makary

Why: “This is a great book that talks about how we are failing our citizens and the overutilization of resources in America's healthcare system.”

Helen N. Turner, DNP, RN-BC, PCNS-BC
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital/Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

Recommended Reads:

Why: "I did a LOT of reading this year, but what made the biggest impact on me were the books I read on racism. Structural bias/racism negatively impacts the social determinants of health and pain care. I have changed my practice to be a more engaged and vocal advocate for marginalized patients." (See also PPM's report and podcast on this racism in pain care.)

Steven H. Richeimer, MD
Chief, Division of Pain Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, USC, Los Angeles, CA

Recommend Reads:

Tina L. Doshi, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor of Pain Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Recommended Read: “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease” by de Cabo and Mattson in NEJM.

Why: “This article doesn't say anything about pain, but it is a very nice review published in December 2019 on intermittent fasting from two highly respected researchers. The article explores how intermittent fasting (and caloric restriction) affects not just weight loss, but also stress resistance, neuroplasticity, and tissue healing from acute injury – all important aspects of understanding the mechanisms of acute and chronic pain, as well as developing multimodal pain management plans.  It is not necessarily an easy diet to follow but lately, I have been recommending it for certain patients. Based on the research presented here, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could work synergistically with other pain treatments, like physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy."

Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, DAIPM, FCCP, FASHP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Pain Management, Albany, NY

Recommended Read: “Efficacy and Safety Profile of a Topical Methyl Salicylate and Menthol Patch in Adult Patients With Mild to Moderate Muscle Strain: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel-Group, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Study” by Higashi et al in Clinical Therapy.

Why: “It is unusual to have this sort of study for an OTC product and it fits well with current trends to reduce oral medications.”


Don L. Goldenberg, MD
Rheumatologist and Professor Emeritus, Departments of Medicine and Nursing at Oregon Health Services University, Portland, OR

Recommended Read: “The Effect of COVID-19 on Interventional Pain Management Practices: A Physician Burnout Survey” by Jha et al in Pain Physician.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Goldenberg published a fast-track book in 2020, How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Affecting Your Health and Your Healthcare  from Armin Lear Press and he has been covering much of the clinical impact of the pandemic for PPM.


Theresa Mallick-Searle, RN-BC, ANP-BC
Nurse Practitioner, Stanford Health Care, Division of Pain Medicine, Redwood City, CA

Recommended Reads:


C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD
President, Shealy-Sorin Wellness Institute, Springfield, MO

Recommended Reads:


Frank A. Kunkel, MD

Clinical Associate Professor, Anesthesiology / Chief Medical Officer, Accessible Recovery Services, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA

Recommended Read: “Opioid Overdose Crisis May Have Begun Decades Ago” in HealthDay

Why: “While this article is from 2018, I found it incredibly interesting.”


Have another recommendation? Email the Editor.

Want More? 

If you missed our 2020 Side Chat Podcast series, featuring some of the field's most prominent icons, you can still listen (or read their transcripts). Included: Nathaniel Katz, Peter Staats, Lynn Webster, Carmen R. Green, Jonathan Goree, Suzanne Amato Nesbit, Mark Wallace, and Lynn Webster.

Looking for inspiration? Check out our 20-year timeline of pain management milestones in celebration of PPM's 20th anniversary, accompanied by an expert roundtable on how the pain field has evolved.

And perhaps most importantly, be sure to bookmark our ongoing COVID coverage relevant to both your patients and your practice. Our provider coverage to date has addressed how to maximize telemedicine, what to know about medication shortages, how to manage rheumatic and immune diseases, what to do about opioid therapy and drug monitoring during the pandemic, and how to prevent PPE-related headaches  – all areas we will continue to address as the crisis continues. But we see light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure you're getting our updates.

Last updated on: December 22, 2020
Continue Reading:
A 20-Year Timeline: Pain Therapeutics and Regulations
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