Understanding Pain

If you are one of 100 million Americans with chronic pain, you’re likely under-treated and have not been taught by health providers how to improve your quality of life.

New findings within the last decade are helping people with chronic pain to take back control of their lives, including how to control their brain processes.

At a minimum, the below videos suggest the importance of getting treated by a Pain Medicine specialist who works alongside a Behavioral Pain specialist as part of a care team.

Learning a little about the science of pain may profoundly change how you view your pain condition and what to do about it.


A Roundtable of Pain Specialists




For a good overview on the state of the science of pain, watch the Charlie Rose Brain Series episode on Chronic Pain.



Quick Riddle:  Where’s the Edge of Pain?

The Bio-Psycho-Social Framework of Pain

A Rheumatologist’s Take

Dr. Dan Clauw, Director of the University of Michigan Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center (with whom I worked when his Center was at Georgetown Hospital), explains these new findings in easy-to-understand language.

Low Back Pain

An Anatomy Professor’s Take

University of California Professor Basbaum presents a quick course for the public. As he’d say, don’t get bogged down trying to learn details. Just get the gist of how your brain processes the ‘experience of pain.’

An Internist-Pediatrician’s Take

Dr. Schubiner briefly explains his view of the steps to take to begin to ‘unlearn’ a learned pain brain pathway. It’s important to realize that his belief, that pain can be completely unlearned is as yet a hypothesis – not proven.

A Health Psychologist’s Take

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 12.18.29 PMLiving with persistent pain, regardless of what the cause, necessitates some lifestyle management skills. My mentor Dr. David Williams, who codirects the University of Michigan Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center with Dr. Clauw, has developed and tested an online self-help series of modules that may help you learn these skills.

Although you may not have Fibromyalgia, these same skills are the basis for the cognitive-behavioral therapy that Clinical Health Psychologists use in providing behavioral pain management. Check out these skill modules.

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