10 Must Read Books for People with Chronic Pain  

Over the years, I have read a number of books related to chronic pain. This post compiles together all of my favorites.

Some of these books address science-based, physiological aspects of chronic pain. Others address the emotional and mental impact of pain. And still others revolve around a biblical understanding of chronic pain. Regardless of the focus, each of these books has placed an important role in my understanding of the nature of pain and how we should respond to it.

Check them out. There’s at least one book on this list for you.

  1. Explain Pain

This book was first recommended to me by my physical therapist who let me borrow a copy for a few days. Explain Pain was the first time I read about chronic pain in terms of how it impacts our central nervous systems and changes our brains. It was also the first book that taught me about self-management strategies, many of which I still use to this day.

2. Rewire Your Pain

A regular reader of this blog informed me about this little book just the other week. I bought a kindle copy and read it in just one day. It’s a great place to start for people who are first learning how to self-manage pain. It’s simple, practical, and easy to understand. It describes different habits to complete on a daily basis that can be one aspect of managing long-term persistent pain.

3. The Brain’s Way of Healing

Neuroplasticity. It’s a hot topic when it comes to pain management. Scientists used to think that our brains were static and couldn’t change or heal once a person reached adulthood. More recent research has shown this isn’t true. We can change the structure and function of our brains, and this has application to many areas of medicine, including pain management. This book isn’t just about chronic pain, but it’s a helpful introduction to neuroplasticity that can be applied to management of pain. I talk more about this book here.

4. Neuroplastic Transformation Workbook

Neuroplastic Transformation includes ways to practically apply the science of neuroplasticity to management of pain. It includes pages and pages of practical coping skills to help people manage the physical and emotional impact of pain. Highly practical. This is a good book if you want a really in-depth discussion of neuroplastic techniques. More details about this book can be found here and here.

5.  You Are Not Your Pain: Using Mindfulness to Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress, and Restore Well-being

If you want to learn about the use of mindfulness for managing chronic pain, this is probably the best book to get you started. The authors offer a helpful perspective on how to view chronic pain and then provide practical meditations that you can use to manage both physical pain and stress. A CD with meditations is included.

6. Pursing Health in an Anxious Age

I had no expectations when I started this book and was pleasantly surprised at how insightful it was. The author provides an understanding of healthcare from a Christian and philosophical perspective. I appreciated his advice on how we should seek out medical treatments. Additionally, hearing about healthcare from a doctor was a helpful perspective for me as a patient.

7. A Place of Healing

This is one of just a few in-depth, Christian-based books about chronic pain out there. Joni Eareckson Tada who has both quadriplegia and severe chronic pain discusses topics such as miraculous healing, suffering, joy, and her personal faith experiences in this book. It was a breath of fresh air when I first started to experience chronic pain.

8. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss 

This book isn’t about chronic pain. But it is about a topic that all people with chronic pain face. The author’s exploration of grief, loss, and growth in the context of suffering is highly applicable to chronic pain. You can also find my book on grief and loss in the specific context of pain and illness here.

9. Chronic Illness and Friendship (A Free Ebook) 

I love this little book on friendship and chronic illness. The author draws on her own experiences with chronic illness to talk about how to develop friendships when you live with physical limitations.

10. But God, Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy?

Sorry, not sorry, this list wouldn’t be complete without including the book I released in 2016 ! If you’ve ever struggled with an inability to work as you would like because of physical limitations, this book is for you. It’s all about living a life of work, rest, and service in the midst of chronic pain.

What books am I missing? I would love to hear about the books that have been helpful to you.

*****This post contains affiliate links, which help this blog. If you click on any affiliate link and purchase an item, no matter what it is, this blog receives a small percentage of the purchase cost. Any money made through affiliate marketing is used to fund my book buying habit, which is great for all of us, because I get books and you get reviews!

Life in Slow Motion offers online courses for people with chronic pain. Check out What Really Helps People With Chronic Pain, an eight-week self-management course held several times per year.


  1. Nancy Belz said:

    Excellent selection! Thank you for your recommendations. Will put on my read for this year list, the ones that I have not read yet. ?

    January 8, 2018
    • lifeinslowmotion said:

      Thanks Nancy! I hope some of them end up being helpful.

      January 8, 2018
  2. Lori said:

    So glad to see you’ve included works by Doidge and Moskovitz. I’m reading Doidge now for the 2nd time. Extraordinary stuff about how our brains work. It seems to me that God is only letting us scratch the very surface of how our brains work. Another book that has helped my insistent need for others’ understanding:
    ‘Why Can’t I Make People Understand?’ by Lisa Copen. It’s very helpful from the viewpoint of Philippians 4. Thanks for the list!

    January 9, 2018
    • lifeinslowmotion said:

      Thanks for the recommendation! Have heard of it, but not read it yet.

      January 9, 2018
  3. Rachel Lundy said:

    Thank you so much for including my ebook! What a fun surprise to see it listed here!

    I agree that “A Place of Healing” and “But God, Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You if I Were Healthy?” are excellent books! I haven’t read the others, but I have considered reading “Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age.” I need to check that one out. Thanks for the suggestions.

    January 9, 2018
    • Nancy said:

      Rachel, I have read rewire your pain and found it to be exceptional! I borrowed it from the library and could not put it down. That says a lot about a book on rewiring your brain.

      January 9, 2018
    • lifeinslowmotion said:

      I do really recommend Pursuing Health in an Anxious age. I went into it not expecting too much, but found some of the chapters really helpful.

      January 9, 2018
  4. Cheri H. said:

    Lisa Copen may indeed be a good writer, but she was difficult to work with when I attempted to start a chronic pain support group under her direction at my old church years ago. She refused to work out our differences, and to this day, she is one of the reasons I don’t trust Christians fully anymore.

    February 20, 2018
    • Carol Dixon said:

      Cheri, you are not alone in your disappointment. Please consider that we are all human beings which means we are flawed & we will disappoint others from time to time. Christians are no different. We are all struggling to be better than we are and hopefully as we are open to God’s work in us, we will grow. Forgive and move on even though it’s hard. Giving grace is a process. Be kind to yourself too. Who knows what she was going through at that time. Take care.

      April 23, 2018
  5. D Haight said:

    Thank you for all recommendations! Have you checked out Confessions of Butterflies by Joanna Dwyer? It’s a great read and powerful.

    April 15, 2018
    • lifeinslowmotion said:

      I have not read that one. Thanks for the suggestion!

      April 16, 2018

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