Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can cause severe emotional and interpersonal distress and may contribute to the development of other medical and mental health conditions. Doctors at The Clinic, with convenient locations in Palo Alto, San Jose, the Pacific Heights neighborhood and Financial District of San Francisco, California, help patients suffering from chronic pain manage symptoms and reclaim their quality of life. The Clinic will also soon service patients out of its new Berkeley and Marin locations.

Chronic Pain Q & A

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What causes the feeling of pain?

Pain results when a signal from the body reaches the pain centers in the brain. Suffering happens only after the brain interprets this signal as being dangerous or unbearable. When living with chronic pain, the pain signals are often relatively constant but the suffering can grow in intensity. Over time these brain pathways may strengthen causing an increase in pain and suffering.

What is pain therapy?

While most pain signals originate in the body, they must travel to the brain to register as conscious pain. There are neurological channels that carry these signals in the spinal cord. When you are angry, frustrated, worried, or sad, these channels are wide open, leading to an exacerbation of pain perception. If you can learn to manage your emotions and re-engage in a life worth living, you can narrow these channels and reduce your pain.

Do The Clinic’s doctors believe in using medication for managing chronic pain?

Optimal pain management often involves both pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions. In close collaboration with your pain management team, our clinicians provide techniques and interventions that can help patients who are suffering from chronic pain take charge of their healing process. Our effective treatment options can be used in conjunction with pain medications or as stand-alone therapies.

What non-drug interventions does The Clinic offer for managing chronic pain?

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain (CBT-CP). CBT-CP therapy has been proven to be effective for pain from many of common chronic conditions, including: headaches, lower back pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and rheumatic diseases.
  • Alternative and stress reduction therapies. These include: biofeedback, mindfulness, sleep improvement strategies, and visualization. Our clinicians are also experts in using Alpha-Stim, a medical device that delivers micro-current electrical stimulation directly to your pain site. Over 100 independent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Alpha-Stim.

When can I expect to feel relief?


Pain Therapy is goal-oriented and time-limited. You and your provider will work together to identify what you want out of treatment; interventions will be tailored to help you meet those goals. You will learn practical coping skills to help manage your pain. You will make safe and gradual life changes that will result in feeling and living better.

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