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December 1, 1969

Pain and the Neurosurgeon: A 40-Year Experience

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois Chicago

JAMA. 1969;210(9):1766. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160350078029

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Pain is perhaps the most common reason for seeking medical assistance. All doctors treat pain—by medication, removal of offending organs, and so on. The neurosurgeon has two roles to play: first, to relieve pain produced by a disorder of the nervous system, such as tumor, neuralgia, injury, and the like; and second, to relieve pain by interfering with neural pathways, when the source of pain cannot be attacked by medication, injection, or operation.

This book by White and Sweet details their experience in treating painful conditions in some 1,700 humans with intractable pain, and provides follow-up over many years. The first half, on treatment of specific painful conditions, is oriented toward anyone interested in peripheral neuralgias, trigeminal and other cephalic neuralgias, pain of spinal origin, and pain from malignant disease anywhere below the neck. The second half of the book gives the authors' observations on how to carry out the