Welcome to the Tribe

It’s scary to tell the world a secret that I’ve kept for more than a decade.

It’s a secret I’ve revealed only to a handful of loved ones and my doctors. But here goes: I’ve been in chronic pain since 2004. And if you’re on this website, you—or someone you love—are probably in pain, too. In my case, chronic pain is my daily companion. Since doctors can’t give me a magic pill to make my tormenting pain go away, I’ve turned to another potent tonic: information.

As a journalist for three decades, I know how to ferret out resources that might help me. I’ve discovered that other pain sufferers and their allies—brave, brilliant and defiant people who refuse to let chronic pain steal their hopes or pigeonhole them as invalids—have been traveling this same journey. Along the way, they’ve hit upon practical strategies, psychological insights, spiritual tools and innovative ways of living rich, meaningful lives despite (and in some cases, because of) chronic pain. In essence, they’ve transformed pain from an anchor into a springboard.

Unable to jettison this uninvited guest from their bodies, these resilient folks have managed paradoxically to tame, befriend and even draw wisdom from it. They’ve convinced me that it’s a badge of courage to lead a vibrant life in the face of daily pain.

Through their stories, these pain mentors show that chronic pain gives us the potential to live heroically. Which is why I launched Painopolis: to gather their strategies in one place so we can all draw knowledge and encouragement from them, as well as share insights and experiences of our own. I hope their stories empower you as much as they do me.

–David Sharp, editor