“Where Does It Hurt?”

Dr. Joseph Mocanu
Verge HealthTech
Published in
4 min readApr 7, 2020


“Where does it hurt?” — one of the most common opening lines when seeing a doctor and it’s reflective of that fact that pain is a signal that is felt by almost* every single person (and animal) on the planet. It is vital to our survival — the presence of pain indicates that something is harmful or wrong, and that action must be taken to alleviate it. When that action is taken, usually the pain disappears in due course.

But what happens if it does not disappear with time? Or what if no action can be taken to make the pain go away? What if there wasn’t even any physical source of the pain to begin with?

Either way, this pain that originally was meant to serve as a warning indicator becomes something far more insidious — a persistent source of suffering that can be so unbearable that it can end in drug addiction or even death.

This is chronic pain.

Approximately 20% of the global population suffers from chronic pain to some degree — that’s over 1.5 billion people. It is one of the leading causes of disability and disease burden in the world.

Professor Sandro Galea at Boston University School of Public Health published a great review of the primary causes, and some of the socioeconomic factors that play into prevalence and severity in the United States, pleading for a higher priority to be placed on it by…