Understanding Chronic Pain

Be it back pain, headaches, joint pain, or fibromyalgia, chronic pain persists and persists, with no end in sight. Some 30 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain, which is influenced by many factors, including one's emotions and memory.

Recent posts on Chronic Pain

Why Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Still a Mystery?

After fifteen plus years of suffering from this illness with little relief from symptoms, I often feel forgotten by the medical community.

The Balancing Act of Living with Chronic Pain

By Dan Mager MSW on July 21, 2016 in Some Assembly Required
If you have chronic pain, you can learn how to go beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone, and through practice find the sweet spot between not doing enough and doing too much.

Are Antidepressant Medications the Next Drug Abuse Epidemic?

Congress passed legislation this week to slow the epidemic of pain-killer addiction. What could also slow the epidemic of drug use for treating the emotional pain of depression?

Mindfulness: The Gift of Taking Refuge in the Present Moment

The beauty of this practice is that it grounds you in the present moment, and this provides welcome relief from ruminating about the past and worrying about the future.

The New Normal: Helping Accident Survivors Move Forward

By James F. Zender Ph.D. on July 11, 2016 in The New Normal
A new blog about auto accident recovery issues.

Chronic Pain May Be a Memory Problem

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on July 09, 2016 in Memory Medic
A prolonged period of acute pain strengthens the emotional pathways that are activated during pain. They do not go away even after the physical pain is gone.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation

There is growing evidence that stimulating the vagus nerve can improve well-being in many ways—including the reduction of chronic inflammation.

7 Pet Peeves About Doctors

Unless studies show that there’s no connection between a medication and a particular side-effect, the doctor should be saying, “We don’t know.”

When Sharing Is Not Such a Good Idea

By Mark Borigini M.D. on June 29, 2016 in Overcoming Pain
If only someone could take back the real Original Sin: the lack of common sense.

Who Needs a Hug? We All Do!

Whether it’s a big old bear hug, a pat on the back, or a hand on your shoulder, physical touch leads to physical healing.

Pain, Ambiguous Loss and Acceptance

Acceptance can be learning to accept that pain, right now, is reality, while simultaneously fighting for a better future.

Pacing: The Chronically Ill Person’s Best Friend

I have a love-hate relationship with pacing. I love it because it keeps my symptoms from flaring. But I also can ignore it because it keeps me from doing everything I want to do.

Psychological Nutrition: A New Prescription for Chronic Pain

Reframing pain management as the management of emotional, or psychological nutrition may be a chronic opioid alternative.

Explaining the Unexplainable: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Millions suffer from chronic fatigue and medical approaches have not been uniformly successful in explaining or treating it. But there is hope if you know where to look!

How Many Deaths Will It Take? Prince Is Just the Latest

The news stories say Prince died of an overdose but it was not just of opiates: his death came from our collective overdose on the medicalization of chronic pain.

Unexpected Double Whammy: Opioids Prolong and Intensify Pain

A troubling new study reports (for the first time) that even short-term use of opioids may increase and prolong chronic pain.

Relieving Pain Without Gaining Weight

It's called comfort food for a reason. It makes us feel better, but it doesn't have to make us obese.

15 Tips from 15 Years Sick

There’s been one constant in my life since I began writing for Psychology Today five years ago: chronic illness. Because 10 + 5 = 15, it’s time for “15 Tips from 15 Years Sick.”

For Kids with Pain, Attending School Can Help

Too many days at home can lead to worsening chronic pain. Helping kids find ways to be successful in school, even when pain may persist, is essential.
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8 Steps for Solving the Opioid Addiction Epidemic in the US

Opioid use, abuse and deaths are now considered a US epidemic, from Prince to the man on the street. Integrated services may be part of the solution.

Margaret Cho Wants You to Embrace Your Darkness

There would be no contrast in your existence if the bad and dark parts didn’t exist.

Marijuana for Chronic Pain

By Mark Borigini M.D. on May 04, 2016 in Overcoming Pain
The historians tell us that, as early as 5,000 years ago, Chinese texts documented the medicinal benefits of Cannabis sativa extracts unrelated to its psychoactive properties.

When You’re Chronically Ill: “Giving Up” Versus “Giving In”

Giving up can make you feel like a failure, as if you’re mentally weak and undisciplined By contrast, giving in is a type of surrender. I think of it as sweet surrender.

Has the Opioid Pendulum for Treating Pain Swung Too Far?

With the epidemic of opioid and heroin addictions sweeping the country—physicians are pinpointing new best practices for "balanced" multidisciplinary pain management strategies.

After 5 Years of Writing for Psychology Today: My Favorites

This month marks my five-year anniversary of writing for Psychology Today online. It’s hard for me to believe, but this is my 184th piece, Here are my ten personal favorites.

Shawn Antoski Wants You to Fear Nothing

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on March 24, 2016 in Brick by Brick
Shawn Antoski shares how he went from an NHL 'enforcer' to a mental health advocate.

Tips for Parenting a Child With Chronic Pain

Parents who help too much may delay a child's recovery from chronic pain. Find out why.

Can Listening to Music Help Control Pain?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 23, 2016 in Media Spotlight
How effective is listening to music as a way of helping to cope with pain? A new study explores the underlying principles linked to music and pain.

Pain Psychology for Women: 5 Tips for Pain Relief

By Beth Darnall PhD on March 20, 2016 in Less Pain, Fewer Pills
Compared to men, women have more pain and it is more severe. The consequences of chronic pain are greater for women too, making pain psychology a critical pathway for pain relief.

When Should the Chronically Ill See a Doctor? Here's a Guide

I hope these guidelines are helpful. If you’re in doubt as to whether what’s happening warrants a trip to the doctor, err on the side of caution and make that trip.