Welcome to Paintracking.com, the companion website to the book, Paintracking: Your Personal Guide to Living Well with Chronic Pain by Deborah Barrett.

Kindle E-books are now available too!

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You can check out book reviews. Or sign up to use the free "paintracking" software.

You can also check for new writings on the Paintracking blog hosted by Psychology Today.

A free webinar on the paintracking approach is available through the Portland Fibromyalgia-ME/CFS Group.

Mission statement:

Paintracking is devoted to helping individuals with chronic pain to improve by understanding their experience. This is not a commercial site. If you would like to support the Paintracking Project, including the “paintracker” application, please consider supporting this site.


What is Paintracking?

Chronic pain can be frightening, depressing, lonely, confusing, and frustrating. But regardless of its source, everyone has the capacity to improve.

Paintracking is a self-study tool and approach for gaining mastery over your experience with pain. The book describes a step-by-step process for evaluating the factors that can promote your well-being and decrease your suffering. The process involves assessing the effects of what you are already doing, testing new approaches, and tweaking existing ones to bring continual improvement.

Paintracking is not about dwelling on your pain. To the contrary! Understanding your experiences with pain allow you to think less about it and more about creating the life you want. It may seem paradoxical that the way to reduce pain is to study it systematically. But paintracking is a process. Understanding the extent of your symptoms as well as what makes them better and worse will enable you to make informed choices, with little deliberation, to decrease your suffering and increase your comfort, productivity, and joy.

Improvement typically must come from trial and error, but without a system for evaluating multiple strategies over time, figuring out what works is virtually impossible. All people with chronic pain have moments in which their pain is less bad. Paintracking can help predict such fluctuations and improve their length and frequency.

Paintracking does not push specific products or lifestyle. Instead it encourages people with chronic pain to treat each day as an experiment that can reveal valuable data for increasing control over how they feel. It describes empirically supported approaches that readers can adapt into their personal experiments. These include how to:

When conducting self-research, it is important to track what matters most in a way that you find quick and intuitive. The book describes tracking strategies that you can adapt to your specific preferences and lifestyle. Some people may choose to jot simple notes by hand in a calendar. Others may decide to use our free, customizable program on this website.

The goal is not pain-free living. Rather, it is to gain sufficient understanding of what helps you so that you can make informed choices. Chronic pain tends to be unpredictable: you can feel fine one minute and in agony the next. But paintracking should enable you to predict how you will feel in different circumstances. By understanding what helps (and hurts), you can determine whether you will benefit more from pushing through the pain or holding back, what you can do to improve your experience, and whether certain activities are worth it. This knowledge is liberating.