“Chronic primary pain” is when severe, debilitating pain has no diagnosed cause. The doctors keep looking, but come up with something vague. Perhaps 20% of people suffer this condition.
The National Institute for Health Care and Excellence has published draft guidelines for dealing with it.
The main shock is that common painkillers including aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen don’t work, and they all have potential negative effects, so should not be used for this type of pain.
Instead, the draft guideline recommends supervised exercise, acupuncture, and psychotherapy.
You know what? This is in tune with my experience with many clients. When you have an acute pain, painkillers are useful, because reduced pain leads to faster healing. But by definition, a chronic pain doesn’t heal. It is not due to damage. So, mindfulness meditation and exercise work much better.