Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 144–151 | Cite as

Acceptance and Related Processes in Adjustment to Chronic Pain

  • Miles Thompson
  • Lance M. McCrackenEmail author


Chronic pain poses significant challenges in the lives of many people. At the root of many of these challenges are the behavior patterns pain naturally coordinates. For example, in some cases, attempts to control, reduce, or cure pain through medication, medical procedures, or lifestyle changes can prove unsuccessful, and can dominate all other potential goals. The experience of chronic pain also includes other discouraging, painful, or unwanted psychological experiences, such as thoughts, feelings, and memories. Attempts to control or reduce some of these psychological experiences also can prove unsuccessful and even harmful, further reducing quality of life. This review highlights recent evidence for the utility of acceptance as an alternative when control-based methods are unsuccessful. It describes evidence from experimental, clinical, and treatment outcome studies. The review also notes how work in this area is drawing attention to the wider concept of “psychological flexibility,” an overarching process that includes other component processes, such as mindfulness and values.


Acceptance Chronic pain Review Acceptance and commitment therapy ACT Psychological flexibility 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Pain ServicesRoyal National Hospital for Rheumatic DiseasesBathUK

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