Seeing as how you’re here reading this, there’s a good chance that you have chronic pain. First, let me say that I feel for you. Second, let me say that I suspect that things can get better. Let’s break down the types of people who may be reading this website:


1. Normal pain
You don’t have chronic pain. You might get sports injuries every so often, or an occasional back ache. These are things that you could do without though. You might be here because you are intellectually curious and want to prevent future pain, or maybe you have friends or family that you are trying to help. I applaud your efforts.

2. Chronic pain controlled by over-the-counter medication
You have chronic pain.  You suspect that your pain problems aren’t going to magically go away. To control your pain, you take something like Advil, Tylenol, or a stronger medicine that is available over the counter. It works pretty well, but you don’t want to take it so much. And for good reason, because these things can have kind of nasty side effects, which will be covered in a later article.

3. Chronic pain controlled by prescription medication
You have chronic pain.  Things have gotten to the point where you have to take a prescription drug for it. Your medication of choice could be any of the thousands available for arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, etc. This might include opioids such as Vicodin and Percocet. The medication works okay, but might have pretty bad side effects. Also, you don’t want to take drugs for the rest of your life just to feel somewhat normal. Life does not seem fair.

4. Chronic pain not controlled by any medication
Life is definitely not fair. You hurt all the time, or have frequent episodes of pretty severe pain. Normal dosages of Vicodin/Percocet/etc might not work for you, or your doctor won’t prescribe you real pain killers at all. You have several problems in life, and don’t know what to do. Pain makes you depressed, and you have to try fairly hard to act happy around others.


Okay, time for one of these deals: Do you want the good news first or the bad news? Let’s say bad news first.

[learn_more caption=”Bad news” state=”close”] Pain can be caused by tons of different things. After having chronic pain for more than around six months, most people’s pain cannot be cured with a magic bullet. This is due to many factors, such as neuroadaptation and changes in joint tissues. Another bad thing: the internet is filled with pain-related scams. Sometimes people mean well and truly believe in their cure-all, and other times they are just trying to make a buck. If it worked for me, it should work for you too, right? Wrong.[/learn_more][learn_more caption=”Good news” state=”close”] Research has advanced mightily in the past fifty years. We still do not know a lot about pain compared to fields like heart disease and diabetes, but we know much more about causes of pain and treatments for it than ever before. If you combine knowledge about pain with hard work at addressing pain, really good things can happen. One of my favorite fortune cookies told me “The greatest cure for misery is hard work”. But hard work is tough when you have pain, right? Totally. This is an issue that we will be exploring in depth later.[/learn_more]


So there you have it. There are a lot of pain issues out there, and I’ll review a couple each week. Chances are, something will apply to your situation. I can’t promise it will help, but the information is free, and I’ll try to be as accurate as possible in conveying it. When new evidence sprouts up, I will add it to existing articles. In conclusion…I sincerely wish you the best of luck in getting better!


  1. I have chronic pain daily and my doctors are refusing to medicate me because I also have asthma and sleep apnea…they say opiates slow down my breathing and they don’t want that happening. Tramadol doesn’t work and I am on blood thinners so even if over the counter stuff worked (which they don’t) I can’t really take them. I’m in a catch 22. Any advice? I just can’t get the doctors to listen to me for real…I’m so very frustrated and in pain almost 24/7

    • Standard disclaimer: we can’t give medical advice, so this is just a thought or two.

      Finding second and third opinions is time consuming and annoying, but might be the only way to go. Opiates can be extremely dangerous if they interact with breathing-related conditions, but some longer acting opiates don’t have quite as much side effects in that regard (I think … needs to be verified by looking at the literature). Opiates are also extremely hard to kick, especially long acting ones, so non-opiate strategies from a physiatrist could be an option. Depending on the condition, dry needling, a variety of other things. It sounds sucky, but unfortunately there’s nothing to do but keep trying!


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