Nonmalignant, chronic pain is associated with physical, emotional and financial disability. Recent animal studies have shown that remodeling within the central nervous system causes the physical pathogenesis of chronic pain. This central neural plasticity results in persistent pain after correction of pathology, hyperalgesia, allodynia, and the spread of pain to areas other than those involved with the initial pathology. Patient evaluation and management focus on pain symptoms, functional disabilities, contributory comorbid illnesses, and medication use or overuse. Treatment of chronic pain involves a comprehensive approach using medication and functional rehabilitation. Functional rehabilitation includes patient education, the identification and management of contributing illnesses, the determination of reachable treatment goals and regular reassessment.