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How can an “expert” fail to solve chronic pain?

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

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 PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Since I came “out” as a chronic pain patient a few years ago now, I have occasionally seen the bonkers opinion that my failure to treat my own pain must mean that I am incompetent and ignorant — that my suffering is proof that the publisher of PainScience.com must not be an expert, must not know what he is talking about.

Because, of course, the power to cure any kind of chronic pain is the defining trait of expertise in the field! Just as it is in, say, neurology or oncology. If you can’t cure multiple sclerosis or cancer, you must be an amateur, amiright?

Good grief. I have seen a lot of ridiculous responses to my writing over the years, but this attitude is the apotheosis of obnoxious ignorance.

And one other thing: I have never claimed to be an “expert,” and in fact I have often disavowed it. I am a journalist. My expertise is in communication, writing, digital publishing. Of course I have become a pain expert in some ways, but the true experts and all good specialists still leave me in the dust, and always will. I follow experts on Twitter.

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