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 behave, 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 is inevitable but suffering is optional. Pain is what we feel - it happens to us. Suffering is what we do with pain - we have a choice.
- Pain can be modified and controlled by retraining an overprotective pain system.
- 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.