We know why we feel acute pain: You place your hand on a hot burner accidentally, your brain registers the sensation and instructs you instantaneously to move your hand. Pain sends a message that the body is undergoing some problem that needs attention.

But chronic pain is less easily understood, Dr. Elliot Krane, director of pain management at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University, explains in the video above. When someone experiences chronic pain, he says, "pain is perpetuating itself and becomes its own disease."

When it comes to treating chronic pain, much of what we know has come from learning from past mistakes, he says. Watch the video above to see why today he emphasizes treatment without medication.

Have you been affected by chronic pain? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.