Chronic Pain Association Offers Solutions

The American Chronic Pain Association was started by someone who knows all about pain. CEO and Founder Penney Cowan was a pain patient herself and wanted options. As she puts it, she went from “living as a patient to living as a person.”

She went into a pain program at the Cleveland Clinic thinking she had no hope. She came out weeks later realizing you can live with pain, but someone must teach you how. She wanted to create a place where people dealing with chronic pain could do just that. Pain management is a key focus, as it is here at the Spine Health Foundation.

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ACPA has been around for over 40 years and seeks to improve quality of life, increase function and help people live a quality life in spite of their pain. They also advocate for more awareness around pain generally and provide support for family members.

One of the most important parts of the pain journey, said Cowan, is acceptance of pain as a part of life — at least for now. Then, it’s all about the willingness to get involved in the recovery process as individuals. ACPA has a set of 10 steps that guide one from “patient to “person.” If they are willing to take that journey, they will be on a better path to management.

“We talk more about our abilities, than our disabilities,” said Cowan, who notes there are numerous skills one can learn to deal with pain management. You can hear all about some of these skills and the inspiration behind the organization in our interview below:

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