This theory, the "specificity theory," is generally accurate when applied to certain types of injuries and the acute pain associated with them.But chronic pain is often quite different, though no less severe, and a more subtle scientific understanding of pain is required to treat it. Unfortunately, many practicing doctors still try to extend the specificity theory to chronic pain cases. This approach is probably not valid when studying or treating chronic back pain. The theory assumes that if surgery or medication can eliminate the alleged "cause" of the pain, then the chronic pain will disappear. This is very often not true for chronic pain.