You can find the hardcover, paperback, and ebook versions here or wherever you buy your booksThe Institute has provided those living with chronic pain, their family members and their providers evidence-based digestible information about chronic pain for over ten years. We are pleased to be publishing How to Have Hope When There Is No Cure: A Comprehensive Guide to Chronic Pain Rehabilitation. This groundbreaking book is the culmination of decades of work by our late founder, Dr. Murray J McAllister, PsyD, and serves as the pinnacle of our mission; to make pain management more effective by changing the culture of how chronic pain is treated. With the publication of this book, we will no longer be adding new content to our website or social channels, but current content will remain available.
Murray J. McAllister, PsyD
Murray J. McAllister, PsyD, is a pain psychologist and consults to health systems on improving pain. He is the editor and founder of the Institute for Chronic Pain (ICP). The ICP is an educational and public policy think tank. In its mission is to lead the field in making pain management more empirically supported, the ICP provides academic quality information on chronic pain that is approachable to patients and their families.
Insomnia is common among people with chronic pain. It's also problematic. It typically makes your pain worse and saps your abilities to cope. Understanding and overcoming insomnia is therefore important to successfully self-manage chronic pain.
The Institute for Chronic Pain celebrates this month its one-year anniversary of going live with our website and blog. The Institute for Chronic Pain is an educational and public policy 'think tank' devoted to changing the culture of how chronic pain is managed. We imagine a day when the management of chronic pain is guided by the principles of empirical-based healthcare (i.e., pursuing only those treatments that research has shown to be effective). Our public face is our website and blog, where we provide academic-quality information that is accessible to patients, their families, as well as providers and third-party payers.
September is Pain Awareness Month! It is a special month for us at the Institute for Chronic Pain (ICP). The theme of the month is one of the central goals of our mission. Specifically, our mission is to change the culture of how chronic pain is treated by promoting the theory and practice of chronic pain rehabilitation.
There’s a divide between chronic pain experts and their patients that rarely gets crossed. The divide centers on the issue of fear-avoidance of pain.
At first thought, it might seem ridiculous to accept that your pain is chronic. When I bring it up with patients, many of them tell me, not without irritation in their voice, “I’ll never give up hope of finding someone who can fix me!” Indeed, it’s common to think that accepting the chronicity of your pain is the same thing as giving up hope that you’ll ever get better.
Half jokingly, patients with chronic pain can sometimes start to wonder whether they are coming down with Alzheimer’s. They don’t seem to remember anything anymore. Besides memory problems, it can be hard to concentrate, multi-task, and find the right word to use – that experience when the word you want to use is “on the tip of your tongue.” People with fibromyalgia have even given these problems a nickname – “fibro fog” – as in when your head is in the clouds.
In the last post, we addressed the question, “Why see a psychologist for pain?” The answer is that psychologists are the experts in teaching patients how to self-manage and cope with chronic pain. Patients who see psychologists for chronic pain can learn to self-manage and cope with pain so well that they can largely come to live a normal life despite having chronic pain.
Patients can sometimes question why their physicians want them to see a psychologist for pain. The concern, of course, is that they are going to get stigmatized. They might wonder, “Doesn't my doctor not believe me?” or “Do they think it’s all in my head?” This reaction can often prevent patients with chronic pain from seeking the care of a psychologist. It is, however, unfortunate. Among all healthcare providers who specialize in the treatment of chronic pain, psychologists provide some of the most effective therapies.
In the last post, we started a discussion about how people cope with chronic pain really well. Specifically, we looked at five attributes and skills that people do when coping well with chronic pain. The point of the discussion was that it is a way to learn how to cope better. Coping with chronic pain is a set of skills like any other set of skills and you learn how to cope with pain just like you learn other skills – like learning how to knit or play the piano or play tennis.
If you wanted to learn how to knit well, you might take a class at your community craft store. You might also get a how-to book out of the library or watch a few YouTube videos. But as you did all these things, you would also pay attention to those who already knit well and watch how they do it. You would then try to do what they do.
“Thank you. I’m so grateful to all of you. You’ve given me my life back… but why did it take so long for me to be referred to this program?” This series of statements, along with the concluding question, is…
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a traditional form of therapy that is used for a great many types of health conditions. Historically beginning in the 1970’s, it was first used as treatments for chronic pain and depression,1, 2 but later applied to…
People are sometimes surprised that there are psychologists who are not mental health providers. It’s also true for people with persistent pain who might wonder why their physician referred them to a psychologist for the management of pain. ‘I’m not…
You’d think that we’d all agree on what back pain is. Pain in the low back is almost as common as days of the week. Most everyone has had or will have back pain in the course of their lives…
Twenty some odd years ago, the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the American Pain Society, two large pain-related professional organizations, teamed up to agree upon what it means to have both chronic pain and be addicted to opioid pain…