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Painful Lessons

What I’ve learned from twenty years of studying pain

Paul Ingraham, updated ARCHIVEDThis page has been archived. Archived pages are rarely or never updated. Most featured articles on PainScience.com are updated regularly over many years, but not archived pages.

This is a repository of some of the major lessons acquired in my career trying to help people — and myself — with chronic pain.

I cringe when I think back on my first several years as a massage therapist, selling myself to patients as a chronic pain troubleshooter. I knew less than John Snow, less than nothing — my mind was cluttered with simplistic misconceptions that I had to actively clean up over the years.

I didn’t know anything listed on this page until at least 2010 — when I retired from massage therapy.

Everything listed here today is something that I am now quite sure of, the major concepts I now more or less take for granted after twenty years of constantly investigating the legitimacy of popular ideas about treating painful problems. The highest certainty, and the greatest importance.

Some disclaimers

I will not defend any of these points in any detail here (though I do link to more information in many cases). There are, of course, lots of caveats. The devil is always in the details. For now, this list is quite incomplete and glib. Just how confident am I in these things? All knowledge is provisional, but my confidence about each of these things is rooted deeply. The sun will probably come up tomorrow, and I am just as likely to believe these things in five years. (And if I’m wrong about that, I can’t wait to find out how.)

The lessons

About Paul Ingraham

Headshot of Paul Ingraham, short hair, neat beard, suit jacket.

I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.