Review: the pain companion by Sarah Anne Shockley

I was given this book to review. Although it was a gift, all opinions expressed are my own, and I was in no way influenced by the writer or publisher.

Sharing remedies for chronic pain is no easy feat, as we all have different stories, albeit with some similar threads.

What works for one won’t work for all. But there are some things even all of us can benefit from in our pain journeys.

Sarah Anne Shockley has penned a useful work that anyone living with or struggling with chronic pain should read.

Sarah Anne Shockley

I was delighted to recognise some strategies she shared, that have been helpful to me, in my own journey.

The Pain Companion does not aim to replace conventional medicines, or medical advice, but instead offers lifestyle changes and suggestions that might support one in alleviating the impact of chronic pain on everyday life.

Who is Sarah?

Sarah contracted Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – the collapse of the area between the clavicles and first ribs in 2007, from a work-related injury. She has lived with debilitating nerve pain ever since. She got fed up of living a limited life after none of the prescribed solutions worked for her, and decided to write about the coping strategies she discovered along the way.

The Pain Companion is split into four parts which explore the way pain affects us, the emotional states and implications of pain, meditative approaches to physical pain and lessons that one can learn from it.

It offers a potent but often overlooked way of coming to terms with pain, something I can vouch for as this was a key part in my own journey.

Sometimes we meet pain on the path of life, and sometimes, in a way, pain becomes the path, but it is never the totality of who we are - Sarah Anne Shockley Share on X

In her book, Sarah says: “Most of us are looking for the one button to push, the one pill to take, the simple change to make in our lives, and it just doesn’t seem to be that simple. Living in pain is not an easy thing to do, and there is no one size fits all solution, no single key, no quick fix. Living with pain over time demands that we look at our whole selves, work on creating a new relationship with the pain in our bodies, and find ways to live with it as an ally so we can move beyond it.”

In America alone, 25.3 million people experience some form of pain. This book proves a useful guide for anyone navigating life with physical pain and its long list of effects.

There were many things that struck me while reading Sarah’s words. This was one of them:

“One thing that seems certain to me is that healing does not happen in a particular place at a specific time. Healing happens every moment we are aware that we need to change in order to recreate the inner balance that constitutes health.”

Healing is a process, and it might not look the same way for each of us, but we all have an opportunity to heal.

There is much to take away from this book. But if there’s one thing Sarah wants her readers to get it is this:

“That they are not alone, that they are not wrong for being in pain, and that there life is not a mistake. Sometimes we meet pain on the path of life, and sometimes, in a way, pain becomes the path, but it is never the totality of who we are. It does not define us. And it is worth paying a different kind of attention to pain, being with it more positively, and doing our best not to treat it like an adversary, which can be the first step in healing it and helping it to move on.

The Pain Companion is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.

Visit Sarah at

4 Replies to “Review: the pain companion by Sarah Anne Shockley”

    1. I’m sorry Jools. It was the same for me, but some years ago I decided to take my time and read something that I’d be interested enough in – in my case fantasy. It’s gotten easier x

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