“Most chronic pain is medically unexplained,” say the authors of Still Hurting? Find Health! “When symptoms are unexplainable, the diagnostic direction course is unclear, difficult, and treacherous.” This causes intense frustration for doctors and patients alike. And in their book, Dr. William Salt and Rev. Thomas Hudson seek to bring understanding to a rarely discussed and incredibly common medical hardship: medically unexplained symptoms and pain.
People experience unexplained symptoms as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, back pain, headaches, and more. Salt and Hudson examine every facet of such illnesses. Their book begins by explaining how our body systems all impact one another. The mind, body, and soul are connected in such a way that an imbalance with one can throw everything off kilter (tension headaches offer one small example).
Doctors, the authors say, look only at the body and only for specific physical diseases. But doctors really need to evaluate emotional and spiritual matters as well as physical to see the full picture. With this in mind, Salt and Hudson explain how a patient can better work with their doctors toward healing, with advice such as asking the right questions in the first place.
Readers then discover the influence depression, stress, and anxiety have on their health. They learn how such issues impact their body systems and overall health. Detailed discussions of exercise, vitamins, nutrition, weight management, and more provide practical advice to help ease chronic problems.
The authors draw from their personal experiences and expertise. Salt specializes in gastroenterology and internal medicine, while Hudson holds M.Div. and J.D. degrees. Salt’s experience as a medical professor shines in his clear explanations. His tone remains sensitive, yet authoritative, handling a potentially difficult subject with skill. Hudson draws readers to consider their whole selves at a time when their physical struggles can drown everything else out.
The biggest challenge with this book is getting used to its format, which seems disjointed at first. And the illustrations at the beginning prove awkward. In a few places, more detailed practical advice could be helpful, such as how to form a “team” from separate doctors. Another important issue to note is that the book is not about finding a cure, as the title might suggest to some. Instead it is about understanding symptoms and pain, gaining as much health as possible, and learning to live more fully as you seek health.