Skip to content
Getting Smart About Chronic Pain


The Newest Ways to Break Pain's Grip

Your pain isn't like anyone else's, and science is homing in on better ways to treat it

En español | If the opioid crisis has provided an excellent example of how not to treat chronic pain, advances in brain science are leading to a fuller understanding of how to more safely find solutions. As research zeroes in on what debilitating aches look like on brain scans — or in facial recognition software — the approach to treating pain is coming into focus as an individualized one that's less blanket relief and more personal fight plan.

According to dozens of interviews with pain specialists, we’ve heard that the smartest approaches now combine various treatments, such as cocktails of different types of drugs, exercise and cognitive therapy — the last of which attempts to rewire pain signals that otherwise stay on high alert, causing you needless misery day and night. To find your own best solutions, the stories that follow break down help for migraines, backaches, postsurgery pain and more. We'll start with a look at how understanding more about what’s happening in a brain on pain can help you better tamp it down.

Read the full series on chronic pain