Chronic pain has always been a mystery. For the more than 100 million Americans who suffer from it, chronic pain often returns at the slightest provocation, even when doctors can't find anything wrong. Conventional treatments focus on symptoms, not causes, and can leave patients locked into a lifetime of suffering. Here, Dr. Gary Kaplan argues that we've been thinking about the nature of pain all wrong. Drawing on patient stories and cutting-edge research, Dr. Kaplan concludes that chronic physical and emotional pain are two sides of the same coin. Whether pain is traumatic or slight, physical or emotional, our brains register all pain as the same thing, and these signals can keep firing in the nervous system for years. Moreover, Dr. Kaplan asserts, disease is not the result of a single event, but an accumulation of traumas. Every injury, every infection, every toxin, and every emotional blow generates the same reaction: inflammation, activated by tiny cells in the brain called microglia. Turned on from too many assaults, their stimulation can have a devastating cumulative effect. Dr. Kaplan's unified theory of chronic pain and depression helps us understand not only the causes but also the issues we must address to create a pathway to healing. With this revolutionary new framework in place, we have been given the keys to recover.--From publisher description.