Chronic Pain Support Groups

Find a community that will help you heal

Living with pain is hard, and most people who haven’t dealt with it don’t understand the struggles. Chronic pain comes in many forms and from many causes: systemic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia; combat injuries in veterans; and localized discomfort such as back pain, headaches and migraines.

Some people in your life may not understand or even believe your pain is real. This can leave people with chronic pain feeling isolated and desperate for relief.

This is where support groups come in: They provide a safe place where you can find emotional support and learn about treatments and management strategies.

There are many options to choose from, with support groups existing online, in local communities, and even over the phone. This article provides information on six chronic pain support groups to help you find one that’s right for you.

National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free, donations encouraged
  • Structure: Online forums and resources
  • Details: Hosts support communities with subgroups for specific interests and topics and an abundance of educational articles
  • Things to consider: There's no live chat, offerings are a bit basic and there is no professional support

The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) offers support groups and a variety other resources. While memberships are available, you’ll never be required to join. Anyone can use the resources and join the communities for free.

The organization hosts support communities for anyone with chronic pain and specifically for people with fibromyalgia, including subgroups with narrower focuses, such as being newly diagnosed, current research, treatment types, symptoms, coping, and more.

The site also offers educational articles on a variety of related topics and maintains lists of local support groups to help you find one in your community. Under the resources section, you’ll find a database of chronic pain and fibromyalgia healthcare providers. While its resources are free to use, the organization encourages people to pay a small fee to help support it.

Pain Connection

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Live video conference groups, in-person support groups
  • Details: Offers support specifically for children and families, several schedules for video conferences, a pen-pal program, and retreats
  • Things to consider: In-person groups are only in select locations and there is no one-on-one professional support

Pain Connection offers support through several free programs, both local and over video. The website has a list of the in-person support groups it hosts around the country in Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Iowa, California, and more (and many also hold video meetings). While there aren't too many just yet, the organization offers training to anyone who’d like to start one in their area.

If you can’t make it to an in-person meeting, you can sign up for regular Pain Connection Live video conference support groups. You need to register ahead of time, but there’s no fee. Video conferences are offered at a variety of times and days to accommodate different schedules.

Additionally, Pain Connection has a program called Pediatric Pain Warriors that focuses on children and their families/caregivers. Pediatric Pain Warriors aims to “provide resources, education, support, and retreats for all affected by pediatric pain.” Currently, it connects kids with pain through a pen-pal program called PainPals. The program also includes webinars and retreats for kids with chronic pain and their families.

The Mighty

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forums
  • Details: Support groups for more than 600 health ailments, easy to post and join conversations, and only members can see posts
  • Things to consider: It's not ideal for those who need structured support groups and it's not specifically for people with chronic pain

The Mighty is a social media site that offers support forums for people with a wide array of health problems—more than 600, according to the site—including chronic pain and its associated conditions. If you live with several ailments (as many people with chronic pain do), you may be able to find a support group for all of them on this one site.

The Mighty's forums are informally structured to allow you to browse conversations and join in easily. The site works to maintain a positive and supportive environment. Membership is required, but it’s free. Because only members can see your posts, you don’t have to worry about your health information being visible on the internet.

A benefit of online forums like this is that you can log on at any time. However, there’s no guarantee that other people will respond to your posts right away. If you’re looking for a structured group with set meeting times, this may not be the right format for you.

MyChronicPainTeam

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forums
  • Details: Easy-to-navigate support forums for 40 health conditions, there's a mobile app, and you can give/get instant "hugs," likes and comments
  • Things to consider: Some people have reported registration issues and there is no professional support

MyChronicPainTeam is part of a network called MyHealthTeams that hosts online support forums for dozens of different health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, spondylitis, migraine, food allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome. These communities are available online and via mobile apps with a free membership.

Once you join, you can create a profile, share your story, and begin posting. Like The Mighty, it’s an unstructured forum where you can drop in and chat whenever you want.

If you have a problem with sensory overload, this site may be better for you than some of the others. The design is cleaner and simpler, with a lot of white space and no screaming colors that can be overwhelming to those with fibromyalgia and similar conditions.

Chronic Pain Anonymous

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: In-person and Zoom meetings
  • Details: Offers structure with a 12-step program, training for people looking to start a group, and resources are available
  • Things to consider: It may not be appropriate for people who aren't religious or spiritual and face-to-face meetings are only available in select locations

Chronic Pain Anonymous (CPA) offers a 12-step program for living with chronic pain. This is similar to programs for addiction, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, but the organizations are not related.

The sessions are structured to guide you through the 12 Steps. (Please note that the 12 Steps are largely based on a belief in God or a higher power, so this program may not be appropriate for people who aren’t religious or spiritual).

CPA offers face-to-face meetings in a few locations across the country, like Arizona, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and more, as well as online, Zoom-based meetings.

The organization sells a book to go along with the program, but it’s not required, and there are no membership dues or fees. CPA also offers training materials for people who’d like to start a group in their own community.

American Chronic Pain Association

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free to join support groups; donation of about $25 for membership to the organization
  • Structure: In-person and Zoom meetings, phone support
  • Details: There are a lot of resources available and it allows you to start a local group
  • Things to consider: Support groups are currently only in select states, there are no online forums for 24/7 support, and no professional support

The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) hosts local support groups nationwide. It currently has communities in most states that you can find in an easy-to-use list. If there’s not one near you, you can contact them about starting an ACPA support group in your community.

Group members facilitate meetings, and they do not focus on symptoms or provide treatment of any kind. Rather, they are a means for people to share what they have learned and to encourage others to create more satisfying lives.

The ACPA website offers some resources as well, including educational information, current news related to chronic pain, information on up-to-date research, and a newsletter. You don’t need to be a member to attend support group meetings. If you want to become a member of the organization, you can do so for a donation of roughly $25 or more.

A Word from Verywell

Chronic pain is a major health problem that impacts as many as 20% of people in the United States and Europe. Chronic pain support groups can be a place for you to share experiences and learn from others, discuss pain management and coping strategies and just feel supported and less alone. You can join most of these support groups for free and online forums mean you can post and receive support at any time of the day. Ultimately which one you choose will be dependent on your location, needs, and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes chronic pain?

    Chronic pain can be caused by a number of different things including injuries sustained, muscle and spinal pain, headaches and migraines, stress and anxiety, and neurological disorders like fibromyalgia and arthritis. 

  • What are chronic pain support groups?

    Chronic pain support groups may meet in person, online, or over the telephone with the goal of providing emotional support, friendship, and possibly education about pain conditions, treatment, and management strategies.

  • What do chronic pain support groups cost?

    Many support groups are available for free, but some may charge a fee. Others, especially those supported by nonprofit organizations, may ask for donations to help fund the group.

  • How are chronic pain support groups structured?

    Structures of support groups vary. Some are focused around a central program, while others are less formal. Typically, in groups with meetings, organizers will select a theme or topic, and they may provide resources such as informational packets or special speakers. Online forums are the least structured, with people dropping in at their convenience.

  • Is a chronic pain support group right for me?

    To decide whether a chronic pain support group might be right for you, ask yourself some questions:

    • Do you feel isolated because of your chronic pain?
    • Do you need more emotional support?
    • Do you feel like no one in your life understands what you’re going through?
    • Do you need help finding ways to cope with your pain?

    If you said yes to any of those questions, a support group might be able to help.


Additional reporting by Ally Hirschlag.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Domenichiello AF, Ramsden CE. The silent epidemic of chronic pain in older adults. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019;93:284-290. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.04.006

  2. CDC. "Chronic Pain and High-impact Chronic Pain Among U.S. Adults." 2019.