John Bonica (1917–1994) was not the first person to think that anesthetic techniques and drugs could be used to help people with chronic pain. But he was a larger-than-life character with a larger-than-life vision, and because of where his vision led us, he is considered to be the founding father of pain medicine. His belief, shared by many pioneers of the field of pain medicine, was that the combined forces of researchers and clinicians from a wide range of disciplines could make significant headway in reducing people’s pain. The immediate effect was a growth in multidisciplinary pain clinics, a recognition of the value of psychologists in the management of chronic pain, an international consolidation of pain research, and the inception of pain-focused professional groups and societies. Yet, chronic pain and its treatment are larger problems today than they...

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