Last month, the Institute of Medicine (which is the medical branch of the National Academy of Sciences) issued a report that estimated that chronic pain affects 116 million people in our country. That is far more than was originally believed. For patients who suffer from chronic pain, this acknowledgement from the Institute of Medicine is a seminal event. Chronic pain usually goes untreated, because most doctors view pain as a symptom of an underlying problem. And with chronic pain, there may be no underlying problem. When a doctor can’t find any cause for the pain, the patient usually gets dismissed as either crazy and referred out for psychotherapy, or as a drug seeker looking for a high.There can be many different causes of chronic pain.