Letters – Issue 110

Neuropathic not neurasthenic pain

In the last issue of New Zealand Books (Autumn 2015), David Hill’s otherwise generous review of my memoir How Does It Hurt? erroneously refers to the form of chronic pain that is the subject of the book as “neurasthenic pain” rather than “neuropathic pain”. In fact, “neurasthenic pain” is pain with a psychological origin, while “neuropathic pain” is, as the book makes clear, the result of “injury to the peripheral sensory nerves or the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system – to which networks it can cause lasting changes.” Indeed, at the heart of the book is clarification of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, as a physical condition and not, as is often assumed, a psychological disorder.

Stephanie de Montalk


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