The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Headache that couldn't be cured
Paula Kamen
De Capo Press; £ 24.95

While putting in a contact lens one day, 24-year-old journalist Paula Kamen felt a stinging pain from a 'dagger of criminal nerves behind the left eye,' as she puts it in a darkly humourous memoir. More than 10 years later ' after years of painkillers, acupuncture, 'energy work', wheat-free bread, magnets, yoga, and even surgery ' the headache still hasn't gone away.

Giving up her case, doctors as well as traditional healers said it was caused by stress, anger, or her overambitous personality. Simply put, it was all in her head. Kamen disagreed, and after rummaging through the latest research, she came to the conclusion that chronic pain is a feminist issue.

The book may not be an authentic resource for those afflicted with mysterious head-aches, but it is a funny personal story with a satirical look at modern medicine.

Chronic headache is indeed more common in women than men. And a large group of people are genetically disposed to be hypersensitive to pain. An expert look at a vexing issue, the book will enlighten Kamen's fellow-sufferers that they are not alone in their pain.

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