Stanford University ~ Defining Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain?

Basically, as defined by Stanford University’s Dr. Sean Mackey, it meets the following criteria:

  • Lasts longer than 3-6 month, or beyond the “expected” time of healing
  • Serves NO physiological purpose
  • Takes a toll on the individual and those in the sufferer’s life (from family members to society at large)
  • It can be a symptom of another disease, but it can also be a disease in and of it’s own right
  • The disease of Chronic Pain fundamentally alters our nervous system
  • We’re learning that, like the disease of diabetes, Chronic Pain as a disease needs to be approached and managed as a chronic disease
  • There are an estimated 100 million sufferers of chronic pain in the U.S. (a range that covers those who can self-manage at home and are still very functional to those who have a catastrophic level of pain)
  • Costs are estimated to be over $ 1/2 a trillion per year in the U.S. (more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined)

(As explained in an excellent informative video found here.)


Stanford University’s Pain Medicine web-site also has a wealth of information on and resources for those living with Chronic Pain.



Author: ChronicPainDailyReflections

I manage a web-site, Chronic Pain Daily, created for and in support of those living in chronic pain. The site helps with the day-to-day spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs of those with constant pain, whatever its source.