chronic pain chronic pain
Stories About

chronic pain

Jeannine sorts through a binder of writing assignments from her therapy. In keeping a journal about her past experiences with pain, she noticed that the pain symptoms began when she was around 8 — a time of escalating family trauma at home. Jessica Pons for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Jessica Pons for NPR

Can You Reshape Your Brain's Response To Pain?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/727682322/731196374" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Gail Gray suffers from degenerative disk disease and takes daily painkillers. Her pharmacist was arrested in a recent federal justice department sting. Blake Farmer/WPLN hide caption

toggle caption
Blake Farmer/WPLN

Amid Opioid Prescriber Crackdown, Health Officials Reach Out To Pain Patients

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/715194105/715266732" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Christina Chung for NPR

Invisibilia: For Some Teens With Debilitating Pain, The Treatment Is More Pain

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/700823481/701553407" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Megan Baker (left) of Papa & Barkley Co., a Cannabis company based in Eureka, Calif., shows Shirley Avedon of Laguna Woods different products intended to help with pain relief. Stephanie O'Neill for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR

Ticket To Ride: Pot Sellers Put Seniors On The Canna-Bus

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/648024454/648646351" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Baby boomers who use marijuana seem to be using it more often than in previous years, a recent survey finds — 5.7 percent of respondents ages 50 to 64 said they'd tried it in the past month. The drug is also gaining popularity among people in their 70s and 80s. Manonallard/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Manonallard/Getty Images

Janjic found that playing the piano didn't make her pain go away completely, but it eased the pain she felt. Jeff Swensen for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Jeff Swensen for NPR

Inspired By Her Own Pain, A Researcher Explores Alternatives To Opioid Treatments

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/636860122/650698349" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Shannon Hubbard has complex regional pain syndrome and considers herself lucky that her doctor hasn't cut back her pain prescription dosage. Will Stone/KJZZ hide caption

toggle caption
Will Stone/KJZZ

Patients With Chronic Pain Feel Caught In An Opioid Prescribing Debate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/622729300/627129840" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Physical therapist Ingrid Peele coaches Kim Brown through strengthening exercises to help her with her chronic pain, at the OSF Central Illinois Pain Center in Peoria. Kyle Travers/WFYI hide caption

toggle caption
Kyle Travers/WFYI

Renea Molden was able to stop taking opioid painkillers with the help of non-opioid alternatives. Alex Smith/KCUR hide caption

toggle caption
Alex Smith/KCUR

Opioids Don't Beat Other Medications For Chronic Pain

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/590837914/591266984" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Will Gersch teaches a class as part of a Colorado Kaiser Permanente pain management clinic. John Daley / Colorado Public Radio hide caption

toggle caption
John Daley / Colorado Public Radio

Pain Management Program Offers An Alternative To Opioids

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/567525861/574986039" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Physical therapy as well as cognitive therapy are part of a promising approach to managing chronic pain without drugs. Hero Images/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Hero Images/Getty Images

Across the state of Maine, the number of prescriptions for painkillers is dropping. But some patients who have chronic pain say they need high doses of the medication to be able to function. Fanatic Studio/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Fanatic Studio/Getty Images

Intent On Reversing Its Opioid Epidemic, A State Limits Prescriptions

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/543955887/545469064" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The HHS inspector general found that some 22,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries seem to be doctor shopping for opioids — obtaining large amounts prescribed by four or more doctors and filled at four or more pharmacies. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

John Evard, 70, at the Las Vegas Recovery Center last July. Evard, a retired tax attorney, checked into a rehabilitation program to help him quit the prescribed opioids that had left him depressed, groggy and dependent on the drugs. Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News hide caption

toggle caption
Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News

Opioids Can Derail The Lives Of Older People, Too

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/502470255/506337228" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

When it comes to chronic pain relief, the CDC is asking doctors and patients to think about alternatives to opioids. Robin Nelson/Zumapress.com/Corbis hide caption

toggle caption
Robin Nelson/Zumapress.com/Corbis

CDC Has Advice For Primary Care Doctors About Opioids

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/470559682/470567059" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Primal posture: Ubong tribesmen in Borneo (right) display the perfect J-shaped spines. A woman in Burkina Faso (left) holds her baby so that his spine stays straight. The center image shows the S-shaped spine drawn in a modern anatomy book (Fig. I) and the J-shaped spine (Fig. II) drawn in the 1897 anatomy book Traite d'Anatomie Humaine. Courtesy of Esther Gokhale and Ian Mackenzie/Nomads of the Dawn hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Esther Gokhale and Ian Mackenzie/Nomads of the Dawn

Lost Posture: Why Some Indigenous Cultures May Not Have Back Pain

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/412314701/412805189" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Generic hydrocodone plus acetaminophen pills seen in a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt., in 2013. Toby Talbot/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Toby Talbot/AP

Americans Weigh Addiction Risk When Taking Painkillers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/323957823/324480076" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript