Pain, and, in particular, chronic pain, is older than medicine itself, and a major reason why people see doctors. It is central to human experience, and pervasive in clinical practice. However, pain — and patients in pain — are not well understood or managed. Our lack of understanding of pain mechanisms, the elusiveness of pain as a research subject, uncertainties in management, and deficiencies in giving patients empathic and integrated care erode doctors’ attempts to help meaningfully.
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