The Song of Our Scars
The Untold Story of Pain
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.