Chronic pain is a pervasive problem that affects the patient, their significant others, and society in many ways. The past decade has seen advances in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying pain and in the availability of technically advanced diagnostic procedures; however, the most notable therapeutic changes have not been the development of novel evidenced-based methods, but rather changing trends in applications and practices within the available clinical armamentarium. We provide a general overview of empirical evidence for the most commonly used interventions in the management of chronic non-cancer pain, including pharmacological, interventional, physical, psychological, rehabilitative, and alternative modalities. Overall, currently available treatments provide modest improvements in pain and minimum improvements in physical and emotional functioning. The quality of evidence is mediocre and has not improved substantially during the past decade. There is a crucial need for assessment of combination treatments, identification of indicators of treatment response, and assessment of the benefit of matching of treatments to patient characteristics.
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