Chronic Pain Journey Map

The journey map is a visual illustration that intends to describe the diverse experiences of persons living with chronic, non-cancer, pain and identifies five key stages of the journey that have critical touchpoints with the health system. Each stage of the journey is framed from the lived experience perspective and explains what works well and common challenges at the individual level. Additionally, the journey map identifies actions that specific health care stakeholders (i.e. clinicians, health systems/payers, and chronic pain community organizations) can take to improve the pain management process. Each stage includes helpful resources to improve the pain management journey.

The map’s curated resources can be accessed by navigating within the map or by clicking the stakeholder-specific boxes below.


The Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic conducted listening sessions and gathered survey data from people living with pain and clinicians who treat pain to better understand chronic pain management. All data was analyzed to identify key themes and summarized in an assessment report. The insights from this work then informed the creation of a person-centered chronic pain journey map.


The journey map elevates the perspective of those with lived experience and highlights learnings that can be used to improve chronic pain care, and ultimately lead to optimal quality of life for people with pain. Importantly, the journey map is a tool that can be used to not only identify gaps in chronic pain management, but also highlight opportunities to develop tools, resources, and/or initiatives to address those gaps and transform chronic pain care.

Intended audiences include individuals living with pain, clinicians, health systems, payers, community organizations, and others who are committed to understanding and/or improving the chronic pain management process.

Journey Map Instructions

An interactive web-based version of the journey map can be accessed below. The interactive journey map is also accessible on mobile devices. For further instructions on how to navigate this tool, please watch this instructional video or read our written guidance. To download a static version of the journey map, please click on the PDF download button.

Access the Journey Map

The resources on this page do not necessarily represent the views of any one organization, the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and have not been subjected to the review procedures of, nor are they a product of, the National Academies. We are sharing this curated list based on the expert guidance of Collaborative members to serve as resources. 

Linked Resources

Easily view the resources from the journey map by category below.

For Individuals with Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Education
• Types of Pain Conditions
• Video: Learning About Acute and Chronic Pain
• Chronic Pain FAQs
• Chronic Pain and Pain Management 101
Video: Understanding Pain and What You Can Do
• Video: Understanding Chronic Pain and the Patient’s Role in Pain Management
Complementary Chronic Pain Therapies
• Home Practice Exercises for Chronic Pain
• FAQs — Pain and Opioids

Introduction to Self-Assessment and Pain Management
Pain Log: Understand what factors affect pain
Daily Activity Tracker: Document difficulty of daily activities
Daily Ability Chart: Assess a range of tasks that may be difficult to complete
Quality of Life Scale: Understand the impact of pain on life

Communication and Support
Preparing for Your Healthcare Visit
Preparing for Conversations with Your Physician
What to Ask Your Doctor – Opioids
Smart Patient’s Guide to Chronic Pain Management

Preparation for Initial Clinical Visit
Overview of Chronic Pain Specialists
Pain Log
Preparing for Conversations with Your Physician
What to Ask Your Doctor – Opioids
Preparing for Your Healthcare Visit
Smart Patient’s Guide to Chronic Pain Management
Medications and Allergies Pocket Card

Behavioral and Mental Health Information
PTSD and Pain Conditions
Video: Pathways Through Pain – Setting Goals and Priorities
Video: Ten Steps for Moving from Patient to Person

Active Engagement Tools
Resources for Better Sleep
Activity Pacing Handout
Self-Management Action Plan

Treatment and Medication Options
Non-Opioid Treatment Options for Chronic Pain – Factsheet
Helpful Information – Patients and Opioids
Helpful Information – Patients and Opioids [Spanish]
FAQs – What are Opioids and How Do They Work?
Prescription Opioids – What You Need to Know
Expectations for Opioid Therapy
Preventing Opioid Misuse
Insurance Coverage for Opioid Addiction
Resource Library: Helpful Materials for Patients – Opioids
Safe Opioid Storage, Tapering, and Disposal
Understanding Payer Initiatives to Work with Patients on Chronic Opioid Therapy

Care Assessment and Self-Evaluation
Follow-up Visit Assessment

Maintaining Quality of Life Goals
Coping Strategies
Quality of Life Scale
Video: Commitment and Acceptance Therapy for Chronic Pain
Living Life with Pain and Continuing Purposeful Activities

Long-Term Pain Management
Daily Medication Tracker Tool
Understanding Payer Initiatives to Work with Patients on Chronic Opioid Therapy

For Clinicians

Education and Training Resources
Pain Education Toolkit
Pain Management Best Practices
Chronic Pain Treatments
Opioid Overview for Healthcare Providers
Interactive Trainings for Prescribers- Applications of the 2016 CDC Guideline
Videos on Improving Communication About Prescription Opioids
Posters for Patients and Providers – Opioids
Video Library: Pain Management Learning Hub

Clinical Assessment and Evaluation Tools
Pain Management Toolkit (pharmacists)
Pain Management Toolkit (all clinicians)

Assessment, Referral, and Education Tools
Education and Training for Physicians – Core Pain Curriculum
Patient Facing Educational Materials
Referral to a Pain or Addiction Specialist

Communication Resources
Improving Pain Management and Opioids In Partnerships with Families and Patients: Initial Questions to Ask

Care Team Collaboration
Team-based/Collaborative Care and Collective Intelligence
Involving Patients as Equal Partners

Treatment Resources
MME Calculator and Guidelines
Checklist for Prescribing Opioids
Clinical Tool for Prescribing Opioids

Multidisciplinary and Comprehensive Care Delivery
Fact Sheet: Shared-Decision Making

Treatment Management Tools
Guidance for Dose Reduction and Discontinuation of Opioids
Case Study: Evaluating High-Risk Patients Treated with Opioids

Long-Term Pain Care
Clinician Toolkit for OUD and Pain Assessments
Involving Patients as Equal Partners
Guidelines for Chronic Pain Management

Research, Diagnostics, and New Treatments
Video: Involving Patients as Equal Partners in Research


Please submit additional chronic pain resources, tools, and/or case studies for inclusion in the journey map through our survey and consider completing the poll questions to help inform our work. Access the survey here >>>

How would you describe yourself?
How are you using (or planning to use) the journey map?

If you selected the “other” option or would like to provide input on the journey map, please complete this brief survey. Access the survey here >>>

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