Breaking Through the Pain Barrier

ISBN: 9780645084436. | Trade orders please contact us here.  

Genre: Biography: Medical |Thought Leader

Breaking Through the Pain Barrier Synopsis:

In 1964 a junior doctor saw two critically burned boys limp into a Sydney hospital begging for help.

He saved their lives but struggled to reduce their suffering because few pain treatments existed.

That doctor dedicated his life to reducing suffering by improving the treatment of pain.

In a career that spanned 50 years, Dr Michael Cousins led the pain world, and crusaded tirelessly for access to pain management to be viewed as a universal human right.

He and his colleagues advanced treatments such as epidural analgesia and spinal cord stimulation that revolutionised pain management.

“He gave me back my life.” A biography on pioneering Australian pain specialist, Michael J. Cousins by Gabriella Kelly-Davies.

  • Breaking Through the Pain Barrier? RRP $32.95 AUS.
  • Delivery charge within Australia is $6.95 per book
  • Delivery charge overseas is $12 per book.
  • Buy 3 or more Hawkeye books for FREE postage within Australia.
  • Every order over $100 receives a mystery gift in their package.
  • When you order a mix of books to get free postage, those in stock are posted to you immediately. Pre-ordered books within that order are despatched when available and you’ll still enjoy free postage.

Reviews for Breaking Through the Pain Barrier by Gabriella Kelly-Davies.

‘The fascinating journey and breakthroughs of a compassionate and driven doctor dedicated to reducing patient pain.’

Tara Moss, Bestselling Author & Painaustralia Champion.

‘If you want to know the inner workings of medicine—of the people behind the breakthroughs and the advances, then this is the book for you. It charts an arc of over 50 years in the life of a remarkable individual. This is a fascinating reading.’

Dr Marc Russo, Pain Medicine Specialist.

‘I am enthralled and can’t put the book down. The fascinating story of the man who brought pain medicine to Australia and devoted his life to the pursuit of pain relief.’

John D. Loeser, M. D, Pain Medicine Pioneer.

‘Professor Cousins has shown impressive devotion to understanding and treating pain that will have an enduring impact on the quality of life for so many Australians for decades to come.’

Pete Rudland, Former SAS Trooper.

Breaking Through the Pain Barrier is a worthy tribute to Professor Michael Cousins. So many patients have benefited from the work Prof Cousins has done to improve the care of pain patients, from his holistic approach to pain and focus on brain re-training, pacing and neuroscience. It’s an engaging book, showing the reader the clinician, researcher and Prof Cousins’ family life as well. It offers hope to patients too, that pain can be better managed through access to holistic pain clinics and services.’

Sophie Scott, Journalist, Broadcaster, Author and Pain Champion.

‘A meticulous, inspiring study of one extraordinary life. Gabriella Kelly-Davies’ compelling and passionate account shows how medicine can be transformed by the power of one individual. This work of integrity and compassion offers us some much-needed hope.’

Lee Kofman, Author of Imperfect.

‘A revealing book about an exceptional man who changed the way Australia responds to pain. “Breaking through the Pain Barrier” by Gabriella Kelly-Davies is a worthy tribute to Professor Michael Cousins. So many patients have benefited from the work Prof. Cousins has done to improve the care of pain patients, from his holistic approach to pain and focus on brain re-training. pacing and neuroscience. It’s an engaging book, showing the reader the clinician, researcher and Prof Cousin’s family life as well. It offers hope to patients too, that pain can be better managed through access to holistic pain clinics and services.

Carol Bennett, CEO, Painaustralia.

‘This is a profoundly moving  book celebrating the life and legacy of a remarkable man. As his patient and biographer, Gabriella, overlooks nothing as she records Michael Cousins’ ground-breaking achievements and life-long commitment to improving the treatment of pain. Gabriella reveals the victories and frustrations of Michael’s medical career, as well as his great human qualities: a kind and caring physician, a loyal friend and devoted family man. This is a book to bring joy to any reader: a fellow physician or simply a fellow human being.’

Lesley Brydon AM, Founding CEO Painaustralia.

‘Michael Cousins is a rare person whose vision for pain management is matched by his intellect and compassion. Michael’s work has made a difference to the lives of not only Australians but those living with pain conditions everywhere.’

Robert Regan, Former Chair Painaustralia, and Group General Counsel and Company Secretary Downer Group.

I always find it interesting to read of a subject’s origins and see how those influenced the outcome of their life. I highly recommend Breaking Through the Pain Barrier to people interested in biographies of extraordinary achievement, those in the medical profession, and anyone who experiences chronic pain. Read full review.

Cate Sawyer, Author.

‘Professor Cousins is a dedicated researcher and clinician who is committed to achieving lasting change in the way that Australia and many other countries around the world address chronic pain.  I commend this book to those with an interest in making a difference in the lives of those affected by complex health and other challenges.’

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston, Painaustralia Patron.

‘It is fascinating to read a person’s beginnings and support systems revealed against the platform of what an extraordinary individual goes on to achieve. Rarely do the exceptional simply appear out of nowhere. It required an experienced biographer who understands the substance of narrative to be tasked with the important recording of Dr Cousins extraordinary life and work. Gabriella Kelly-Davies expertly captures the special memories, ordinary and extraordinary moments and anecdotes, and history, that showcase why and how Dr Cousins made a difference to people’s lives, and is so well-deserved of the accolade that is Breaking Through the Pain Barrier—a valuable addition to Australia’s history’…

Carolyn Martinez, Director, Hawkeye.

Breaking through the Pain Barrier is an eminently readable history of pain management through the eyes and work of its foremost Australian advocate, Dr Michael Cousins. The vision and devotion of this scientist and clinician is nothing less than astounding. The author has nailed the account of his life’s work and many successes while framing them with personal anecdotes that endear Dr Cousins to all of us, especially those who’ve suffered chronic pain themselves.

Annemieke, Reviewer

Every Politician, policymaker, hospital administrator, medical practitioner, and sufferer of chronic pain should read this book.

J. E. Miller, Reviewer

It is a brilliant book about an amazing doctor and a true gentleman. My GP is reading it and recommending it to colleagues.

Elaine, Reviewer.

This book was made possible by the support of many, including Michael Cousins and his family and friends, Painaustralia and the Pain Foundation. Portions of the proceeds are being donated to pain research.

For more Breaking Through the Pain Barrier reviews visit:

Goodreads smaller logo

Like to learn more about Gabriella Kelly-Davies? Visit her Hawkeye author page here or her website.

Head shot of author, Gabriella Kelly-Davies.
Author of Breaking Through the Pain Barrier, Gabriella Kelly-Davies.

Click here to find published media on the launch of Breaking Through the Pain Barrier.


Video recording: How does one write the biography of a living scientist? Gabriella Kelly-Davies and the choices she made while writing Breaking Through the Pain Barrier: The extraordinary life of Dr Michael J. Cousins.

If you enjoy Breaking Through the Pain Barrier byGabriella Kelly-Davies, you might also like these other great Hawkeye books.

6 comments to “Breaking Through the Pain Barrier”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.
  1. Philip - July 10, 2021 Reply

    I just wanted to congratulate you on what you have achieved. As you know, I worked with Michael for twenty years and I am acutely aware of the privilege it was to work with him and the opportunities that Michael provided. This book reinforces that and makes me even more conscious of the enormous amount of work that he put in to provide those opportunities. I was in constant admiration of his capacity and achievements but when you put together all that he achieved over the course of a lifetime, it is even more remarkable.

    But I also appreciate the way you have captured not just what Michael has achieved but who he is – there is a warmth that comes out in his relationships with Michele and the family and patients that gives the book another layer which goes beyond what he has accomplished.

  2. GABRIELLA KELLY-DAVIES - July 14, 2021 Reply

    Thanks so much Philip. I felt privileged to write Michael Cousins’ biography and to interview colleagues such as you who played a vital role in his journey.

  3. -Marie Kearney - July 30, 2021 Reply

    Many years ago I was working in an emergency department in Sydney when two little boys came to the department. They had been playing with some tom thumb crackers…………….
    Dr Cousins was the Anaethetist on duty that night.. It must have been around the end of May because that was when Cracker night was …back in the day when fireworks could be bought over the counter.
    I have never forgotten that night.
    Not long after that I went to UK, then Hobart. When we came back to the “Mainland” in late 80’s Professor Cousins helped my daughter with pain.
    I have not been in touch with Professor Cousins for some time……….
    I would like to say hello.

  4. John Loeser - August 10, 2021 Reply

    I have now finished reading your superb book on the life of Mike Cousins. You have done a wonderful job capturing the essence of one of my favorite people: a man who brought much good to those around him and his society. This book will become a classic for those interested in the development of the pain world, especially in Australia. Thank you for a job well done. Best wishes,

  5. Dan Carr - August 11, 2021 Reply

    I received my inscribed copy amazingly quickly, and treasure it. I started to read it; hearing from you now compelled me to finish — which I have now done — before replying. Your book is a masterpiece, conveying everything worth knowing about Michael, Michele and their family across decades while clearly explaining numerous clinical and scientific matters. There was much that was new to me (at least in the detail presented). Michael’s almost superhuman impact is shown by the myriad of dimensions and accomplishments that I was unaware of until reading your book. Your biography will, I hope, earn you highest grades if possible to submit it for formal evaluation! I am grateful for the privilege of being quoted alongside luminaries in the field.

  6. Tanya - August 31, 2021 Reply

    Hi Carolyn, Just thought I’d let you know that Mum received Breaking Through the Pain Barrier yesterday – exactly on time! She was thrilled, because she’d actually read the same article as I had (in her local Mosman Times) and had cut out the item to earmark the book for a future purchase! As it turns out, Dr Cousins actually treated her mother some 20 odd years ago when she had a very bad case of shingles. My Mum said she’d always remembered him, because of the warm, compassionate and professional way he dealt with her mother prior to her death. Thanks again for all your help in providing a lovely wrapped birthday gift for my Mum during these challenging times. Cheers, Tanya.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.