The present report outlines key requirements that are central to helping patients manage pain effectively. Although current standards are available as guides for practice, the prevalence of pain suggests that many health professionals do not know and/or cannot relate to these standards. Therefore, a brief, pragmatic statement may be more useful initially for health professionals and patients learning about problematic pain outcomes. The principles in the brief statement produced by the Canadian Pain Society clarify and emphasize key underlying assumptions that have directed the development of many pain standards. The aim of the present paper is to increase awareness of ineffective pain practices and the importance of pain relief, and to stimulate further work in this area.