Everything hurts.

From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, you're one gigantic wince. It'll go away soon, you know it will, but in the meantime — yikes! It's time to go lie down, take a rest, and read one of these timely books.

Ugh, pain. Even something as slight as a paper cut can sting for a surprisingly long time — but why is that so? It won't hurt to find out by reading "Ouch!" by Margee Kerr and Linda Rodriguez McRobbie.

You burn your hand, and you pull it back, fast. Bump into something sharp, and you'll jump away. Hit your head, and you won't do that again. We like to think we don't invite a painful experience, but we do: 8 out of 10 American women have pierced ears, and a likewise large number of our fellow citizens have tattoos. Millions of us visit waxing salons. And when was the last time you ate a super-spicy meal?

In this book, you'll learn exactly what pain is and why the way we describe it matters. You'll see how it protects the body, how some people's warning systems go haywire, and why others feel no pain at all. You'll read about why pain might be ignored by a doctor, and what science says about what you're feeling. See why a little pain is good for kids, learn a thing or two about pain meds, and see why we literally can't live without something hurting.

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If it's pain in the foot you've got, well, you'll learn more about those things at the end of your legs in "First Steps" by Jeremy DeSilva, a paleoanthropologist specializing in the study of "the foot, and in particular, the ankle" and especially that which is ancient.

The fact that you are upright, balanced on the lower side of relatively thin sticks that end in a mess of bones and muscles, is somewhat of a miracle that started millennia ago. In this book, you'll get some idea of how humans started to walk, and why.

Walking, as DeSilva shows, affected our ancestors' health, as it does ours today.

You'll see how feet differed between various ancient hominids, how their movement across the planet through millennia affected their feet, and how human feet affected the planet. You'll read about the different ways we walk, the benefits of it, and how our entire bodies adapted to walking as we do, rather than chimp-like. You'll see how walking upright made us who we are today, from crown to the toes on our feet (including those toes!). And you'll see why it's so important to take care of those body parts that let us walk, run, bike, step up, skip, and dance.

If you're looking for more books on health-related topics, visit your favorite bookstore or library; the staff there will be able to help you choose the right reads to inform you or to distract you from the pain. Ask them. It wouldn't hurt.

Book notes

"Ouch!" by Margee Kerr and Linda Rodriguez McRobbie is available at Barnes & Noble at Apache Mall and through online booksellers. "First Steps" by Jeremy DeSilva is available at Barnes & Noble at Apache Mall, the Rochester Public Library, and through online booksellers.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on the prairie in Wisconsin with one man, two dogs and 16,000 books. Look for her at bookwormsez.com or bookwormsez on Twitter.