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Research projects include investigating the role of the brain in pain processing and control, and how factors such as emotion, attention, environment, and genetics affect pain perception.

In light of the human and economic costs of chronic pain, as well as evidence that many people who have chronic pain turn to complementary health approaches for relief, NCCIH places a high priority on pain-related research.

It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature.

This section highlights the research status of some approaches used for common kinds of pain.

As with any treatment, it’s important to consider safety before using complementary health approaches.

If you’re considering or using a complementary approach for pain, check with your health care providers to make sure it’s safe for you.

These decisions often involve combining treatment approaches in cost-effective ways that do the best possible job of helping people minimize pain, carry out everyday activities, and improve their quality of life.

While building an evidence base to help people with chronic pain and their health care providers make decisions about pain management, research on complementary health approaches is also helping to close gaps in our basic understanding of pain mechanisms.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than several months (variously defined as 3 to 6 months, but certainly longer than “normal healing”). Results from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey show that: Chronic pain becomes more common as people grow older, at least in part because health problems that can cause pain, such as osteoarthritis, become more common with advancing age.

Not all people with chronic pain have a physician-diagnosed health problem, but among those who do, the most frequent conditions by far are low-back pain or osteoarthritis, according to a national survey.

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