Some simple truths about pain
- The better we understand pain, the better equipped we are to manage it.
- All pain is real.
- Pain comes from the brain 100% of the time.
- Pain is an experience with biological, psychological, and social factors, not just a number on the pain scale.
- What we think and feel about pain, as well as how we react to it, affects our pain experience.
- There is a difference between short-term acute pain and long-term chronic pain.
- Acute pain is the body’s normal response to tissue damage or injury and generally heals in less than three months.
- Chronic pain is an abnormal response and doesn’t improve over time. It can happen long after an injury or illness heals.
- Once pain becomes chronic, it loses its warning function and becomes its own disease/condition.
- Chronic pain often has no known cause or cure.
- The longer we have pain, the better our bodies can become at creating it and turning up the pain volume.
- Hurt doesn’t always mean harm.
- There are limits to biomedical treatment alone. We can’t always be fixed with a pill, injection, or surgery.
- Just treating the pain is not enough, we need to treat the whole person.
- Pain can be modified and controlled.
- The best treatment for chronic pain is interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary care – combining different therapies.
- Once pain becomes chronic, the goal should be pain management to increase function and quality of life, not pain elimination.
- While not all pain will go away, recovery is possible – it's important to accept it, adjust to it, and manage it.
- People living with pain need to take active responsibility to self-manage the pain with support from healthcare professionals.
- It’s possible to live a fulfilling life, despite chronic pain.