My mission is to help people live the longest and happiest lives possible, and that means lives that are pain-free. But Americans don't do pain well. Historically, if people were not in immediate medical danger, their pain was considered an unfortunate side effect or a collateral consequence of solving a greater problem. I was told my job as a cardiac surgeon was to keep a heart beating by any means. Any pain the patient had later was not my focus.

But all that is changing. I am here to tell anyone who suffers from pain each day, whose life is circumscribed and whose goals are slipping out of reach, that you are at last being heard. We are in a pain renaissance.

 

First, the biology: Pain is actually an intricate interplay along neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. The body produces natural painkillers like serotonin, norepinephrine and opioid-like chemicals. Chronic pain is any pain that persists beyond the usual healing period. Continuous or intermittent, it can consume all aspects of a person's life.

Man in pain.

 

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