BY 4.0 license Open Access Pre-published online by De Gruyter September 10, 2021

Emmanuel Bäckryd and Mads U. Werner (editors): Långvarig smärta – SMÄRTMEDICIN VOL. 2

Harald Breivik

The third edition of the comprehensive Swedish textbook on pain medicine is a major undertaking by the two Editors, Emmanuel Bäckryd from Linköping and Mads U. Werner from Lund and Copenhagen. With about 1,400 pages, the Editors divided the task into two volumes; Volume 1 covers acute pain, cancer-related pain, and palliative pain relief, reviewed in 2020 [1], and the present Volume 2 covers long-lasting (“långvarig”) pain (so-called to avoid the negative connotations of “chronic” pain).

Volume 2 has three sections: Basic background, methods of management, and common long-lasting pain conditions. Before the main text, there is a brief section called terminology with a list of explanations of common expressions, a list of abbreviations, and well-done informative drawings showing skin dermatomes and peripheral nerves.

The two Editors demonstrate in their admirably well-written introduction chapter, in two chapters on physiology and “chronification” of pain, and several other chapters, their deep knowledge of science and clinical aspects of long-lasting (chronic) pain.

There are 51 chapters by 51 Swedish (two living in Norway) and six Danish authors. The two Editors have authored and co-authored 12 of the chapters.

In the background section, the bio-psycho-social, cultural, and socioeconomic aspects, as well as evaluation of long-lasting pain, are especially well written by the two Editors, and research methods by Björn Gerdle and Eva Kosek.

The second section covers treatment and management methods, again with well-balanced discussions and recommendations based on existing evidence: Multimodal pain rehabilitation is thoroughly described and evaluated. One of the internationally most famous pioneers in psychological methods, Steven J. Linton, and two from his impressive team in Örebro, Katja Boersma and Ida Flink, describe psychological methods. I am pleased to notice that Gunilla Brattberg, one of the first pioneers to document the impressive effects of basic psychological education, often having (previous) pain patients help other patients. Physiotherapeutic methods and acupuncture are also thoroughly evaluated.

There are five excellent chapters on neuromodulation methods, some being pioneered in Sweden. The Editors have written three important chapters on pharmacological methods, including a thoughtful review by Emmanuel Bäckryd of the complex situation of opioid-analgesics and drug-use-disorders.

In the third section, 22 chapters by internationally well-known pain researchers from Sweden cover specific pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia by Eva Kosek, neuropathic pain by Per Hansson. There are chapters on back pain, complex regional pain syndrome, orofacial pain, complex visceral pain conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic pain, and long-lasting pain after surgery, as well as pain conditions in the increasing number of cancer survivors. There is a good chapter on long-lasting pain in children. Aspects of pain in the rapidly increasing elderly population are covered in several chapters, emphasizing the importance of these increasingly common and often difficult to manage pain conditions in the elderly and old persons.

Like Volume 1, but even more so, Volume 2 is extremely well-edited so that all chapters are clearly well researched and up-to-date, thoroughly illustrated with figures, tables, fact-boxes, and patient stories. After each chapter, a few important publications are shown, and the comprehensive lists of references are easily found on

The Swedish language is understood by most health care persons and other interested readers in the five Nordic countries with almost 30 million inhabitants altogether.

The two Editors of this major 2-volumes textbook, Emmanuel Bäckryd, and Mads U. Werner, in their Introduction, express a hope that their book project will be useful tools for increasing real knowledge, based on scientific facts of acute and long-lasting pain conditions – for the benefit of the numerous patients suffering from pain.

I would like to confirm that the two Editors have certainly succeeded in developing such a very useful tool, a source of “evidence-based” understanding and clinical managing of pain:

My most sincere congratulations!

Corresponding author: Harald Breivik, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; and Department of Pain Management and Research, Department of Anaesthesiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway , E-mail:


1. Breivik, H. Book review: Mads U. Werner and Emmanuel Bäckryd, editors. Akut och cancerrelaterad smärta – Smärtmedicin Vol. 1. Scand J Pain 2020;20:423. Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2021-09-10

© 2021 Harald Breivik, published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.