Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

The surreal appeal of pain “hacks”

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Get posts in your inbox:
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

It seems super sensible and obvious that there are no quick fixes for most kinds of chronic pain. It’s almost always a long and winding road to recovery — and many people won’t get there at all. The truth about pain hurts.

And yet… whenever anyone promises anything that seems like a pain “hack” on social media: boom! Massive, uncritical engagement. A kajillion likes. It’s surreal to me how many people fall for it.

The marketing power of “one weird trick” never ceases to amaze me.

For a lot more detail and nuance about what does and doesn't work for chronic pain, see What Works for Chronic Pain? A skeptical roundup of all the disappointingly small selection of effective chronic pain treatments (or the least bad ineffective ones).