What is chronic pain?

Pain is a normal and essential function of the body and we would not survive without it. Chronic pain however, is not. Pain is defined as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.1” Pain that lasts for six months is generally considered to be chronic in nature and as such, can have a number of adverse emotional consequences. It has been well established that there is an association between chronic pain and poor psychological health2,3,4. One potential explanation for this is that pain can affect mental wellness by limiting one’s capacity to work, engage with family and friends, and enjoy personal pursuits and leisure or social activities4.


With professional counselling, proper support, and willingness for change, you can live a vital and meaningful life despite having chronic pain.



  1. Merskey, H., & Bogduk, N. (Eds.). (1994) Part III: Pain Terms, A Current List with Definitions and Notes on Usage (pp 209-214) Classification of Chronic Pain, Second Edition (Revised). IASP Press: Seattle. Retrieved from http://www.iasp-pain.org/Taxonomy?navItemNumber=576#Pain
  2. Mausbach, B.T., Chattillion, E.A., Moore, R.C., Roepke , S.K., Depp, C.A., & Roesch, S. (2011) Activity restriction and depression in medical patients and their caregivers: A meta analysis. Clinical Psychology review. 31(6): 900-8.
  3. Ratcliffe, G.E., Enns, M.W., Belik S., & Sareen J. (2008) Chronic pain conditions and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts: An epidemiologic perspective. Clinical Journal of Pain. Vol. 24:204–210.
  4. Gilmour, H. (2015) Chronic Pain, activity restriction and flourishing mental health. (Catalogue no. 82-003-X; ISSN 1209-1367). Retrieved from The Minister Responsible for Statistics Canada website: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2015001/article/14130-eng.htm