About chronic pain: Key messages

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  • Chron​ic pain is often the result of changes in the sensitivity of your nerves, spinal cord and brain. This produces the feeling of pain even when there is no ongoing injury or danger.
  • You should seek medical help if your pain symptoms get worse, if new symptoms arise or if your health worsens.
  • To help you accept a chronic pain diagnosis, get support from those who care for you and others living with chronic pain, challenge any negative thoughts and try to remember the good things happening in your life.
  • Chronic pain is best managed using the 3P approach – a combination of physical, psychological, and pharmacological strategies. It’s important to use as many strategies as possible and find the best mix of 3Ps that works for you.
  • You can safely start the 3P approach to pain management at any time with your healthcare provider.
  • The goal of a chronic pain management plan is to improve your function and quality of life, rather than complete pain relief.

Additional resources

Lorimer Moseley, Why Things Hurt

  • In this video, Dr. Lorimer Moseley explores the question of “why things hurt”, and describes how our bodies try to protect us from damaging our tissues further. He also looks at what this might mean for those who suffer from chronic pain.

Canadian Headache Society

  • This website features information on diagnosing and treating headaches. The target audience is individuals with headaches and health professionals.

American Headache Society

  • This website helps those affected by migraine and other headache disorders find and use their voices to empower patients, family members, friends, and care partners through education, support, advocacy and research.

Improving the Lives of Children (ILC) Foundation

  • The purpose of this website is to inspire hope and contribute to the health and wellbeing of children and families living with chronic pain diseases. ILC promotes a care model of health promotion and knowledge sharing partnerships through a family-centered, awareness and education peer network and program.


  • RELIEF is a website for patients and the general public that provides news summaries, feature articles, interviews, webinars, and podcasts covering pain research. This website is a project of the Pain Research Forum, based at the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Centre at Harvard Medical School.​

Last updated: May 2nd 2016