BOSTON (CBS) - Millions of people feel they're living life in the shadows in their struggle with chronic pain.
"There was a gut deep pain that I felt immediately."
"I didn't belong anywhere anymore. I had no place to go and no way to get there."
"I had no clue that it would become something so disabling and so terrible."
"I was already suicidal because the nerve pain was so excruciating. It was terrifying, terrorizing."
These are all reactions from people who suffer from chronic pain. It affects more people than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined.
"The figure that many organizations quote now as for the number of Americans who live with chronic pain is about 100 million, if not somewhat more," Dr. Daniel Carr, the Founding Director of Tufts' program on Pain Research, Education, and Policy, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Roughly 60 percent of our military veterans returning from war this last decade have some form of chronic pain and the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital is front and center in that battle.
"Yes, we are very excited to be part of this and part of the building and working and researching the new methods to treat pain," says Dr. Milan Stojanovic, Chief of Pain Medicine at VA Boston.
The question remains: Is there anything that those of you suffering from chronic pain can hope for?
The answer is "yes," says Massachusetts General Hospital's Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander.
"I think we can do better than just giving them pain medications. We need to find out what the underlying cause of their pain is and cure that," she told WBZ.
"I think the most important single message for pain patients is is that they are not alone," said Dr. Carr.
Coming up in part two, we'll explore the number one cause of chronic pain.
Listen: Part 1 - Chronic Pain – Stories Of Struggle And Hope
for more features.