Family physicians often come in contact with patients who suffer from chronic pain. These patients present a treatment challenge and may require referral to a pain treatment facility. The purpose of this review is to define and clarify the current concept of a pain treatment facility and delineate the different types of treatment facilities available. Possible selection criteria for referral to such facilities are suggested, with the rationale for the selection of these criteria. The role of the family physician in the treatment by a by a special facility of a patient with chronic pain is discussed. By definition, pain treatment facilities differ. The family physician should be aware of these differences and selection criteria for referral to such facilities.