Font Size

Chronic Pain (cont.)

Controlling Chronic Pain

It is not always possible to completely get rid of chronic pain. The patient's goal may be simply becoming able to perform more normal activities of daily living than before.

  • The doctor may ask the patient to rate the pain on a scale from 1 to 10.
  • It is also helpful to report whether it is possible to go to work, go shopping, exercise, sleep, or have sexual intercourse.
  • Sometimes, the only measure of effectiveness of treatment is that a patient can do certain things that were not possible before the treatment started. This is what the doctor needs to know in order to make decisions about the patient's treatment.
  • If nothing else works for the patient's pain and the doctor is unwilling to use opioids to control the pain, consider asking for a referral to a pain specialist or a pain clinic.

Medically reviewed by Jon Glass, MD; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology


The American Chronic Pain Association.

World Health Organization. WHO's pain ladder. Chronic Pain Management.

Previous contributing authors and editors: Author: Henry Farkas, MD, Medical Director, VNA of Maryland/Northern Chesapeake Hospice; Medical Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, Union Hospital of Cecil County. Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Steven L Bernstein, MD, Vice-Chair, Academic Affairs, Department of Emergency Medicine, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center; Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mt Sinai School of Medicine.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Chronic Pain

Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is an illness with no known cause. Symptoms include chronic pain, fatigue, fibrofog (mental haziness), insomnia, headaches, nervousness, numbness, ...learn more >>
Insomnia Insomnia affects most people at some point in their lifetime. Insomnia is actually a symptoms of a condition, disease, or situation. Non-medical treatment of in...learn more >>
Leg Pain
Leg Pain There are a variety of causes of leg pain. Some of the common causes include fractures, strains, sprains, bleeding, diseases such as gout, peripheral artery dis...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Chronic Pain:

Chronic Pain - Effective Treatments

Please describe what treatments have been effective for your chronic pain.

Chronic Pain - Management

What steps have you taken to manage your chronic pain?

Pain - Experience

Please describe your experience with pain.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Chronic Pain Syndrome »

Chronic pain syndrome (CPS) is a common problem that presents a major challenge to healthcare providers because of its complex natural history, unclear etiology, and poor response to therapy.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary