Skip Navigation LinksChronic-Pain

substance and addiction prevention branch

woman stretching

Resources for people with chronic pain.

Chronic (long-term) pain is defined as pain that lasts three months or longer. This pain could be caused by an injury, disease or condition, inflammation, or a medical treatment. Acute (short-term) pain is usually sudden and normally has a known cause, such as an injury or surgery. The pain normally gets better as your body heals. Chronic pain can often be managed without opioids and many other options have been shown to work better with fewer side effects.

Below is a list of resources to support people with chronic pain.

Discussing pain treatment options with your health care provider.

If you have chronic pain, talk to your health care provider about your options to reduce or eliminate pain. If you are prescribed opioids (PDF) (like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine), make sure you know what questions to ask so you are informed about your prescriptions and how to take them. Use these conversation starters:

Patients' Frequently Asked Questions

This webpage includes answers and guidance to patients' frequently asked questions on taking prescription opioids for pain relief. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

doctor and patient

Opioid treatment for chronic pain.

Risks and How to Reduce Them

This webpage describes the risks and side effects of opioid use and provides guidelines to follow if you are prescribed opioids for pain. Source: CDC

Expectations for Opioid Therapy

This webpage outlines actions your doctor or health care provider should take to ensure the best treatment option is provided for you. Source: CDC

Risks of using prescription opioids for chronic pain

This webpage describes the risks and side effects of using prescription opioids to treat chronic pain. Source: CDC

tai chi

Non-opioid treatments for chronic pain.

Non-opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain (PDF)

This fact sheet provides an overview of the principles of chronic pain treatment, non-opioid medications, and non-opioid treatment recommendations for common chronic pain conditions. Source: CDC

Self-Management Education

This webpage provides information on how self-management education (SME) programs may help you control your pain. Some subjects covered include relaxation techniques, making informed decisions about your health, and the appropriate use of prescriptions and medications. Source: CDC

Complementary Approaches for Chronic Pain

This webpage provides information on the science behind complementary health approaches for chronic pain for many conditions such as general chronic pain, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Explore these complementary health approaches for treating chronic pain:

Managing Chronic Non-Cancer Pain (PDF)

This fact sheet includes non-opioid treatment options for managing chronic non-cancer pain, such as movement-based therapies, behavioral therapies, medication, and procedures. Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health

For questions, please contact us at

Page Last Updated :