About Us

Since 1980, the ACPA has offered peer support and education in pain management skills to people with pain, family and friends, and health care professionals.

The information and tools on our site can help you to better understand your pain and work more effectively with your health care team toward a higher quality of life. 


Our History

The American Chronic Pain Association was founded in 1980 by Penney Cowan in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After many years of living with chronic pain, Penney had taken part in the pain management program at the Cleveland Clinic and was eager to maintain the skills she had learned there when she returned to her daily life.

Penney placed a notice in her church bulletin and soon found others whose lives were compromised by ongoing pain.  They began meeting as the first ACPA support group.  This one small group quickly became many.  Unable to be personally involved with every group, Penney developed the first of the ACPA’s manuals and other materials so that others could learn and maintain the skills that had been so important to maintaining her wellness.

Today several hundred ACPA support groups meet across the US and in Canada, Great Britain, and many other countries.  The ACPA’s unique materials are a primary resource for individuals seeking to improve the quality of their lives and for the professionals who help them.

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Development of this new ACPA web site was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Medtronic Foundation and Purdue Pharma.

Medtronic Foundation and Purdue have no influence on the editorial content of the site. Ongoing funding also comes from memberships/donations from a range of individual contributors.

Last Updated: 9/16/2014
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