This article examines the use of lobotomy as a treatment for chronic intractable pain and reconstructs then-common perceptions of pain and of the patients who suffered from it. It delineates the social expectations and judgments implicit in physicians' descriptions of the patients, analyzing what was expected from such patients and how the medical establishment responded to non-normative expressions of suffering. I argue that the medicalized response to an expectation for normativity demonstrates the convergence between psychiatric and palliative interventions. Based on a historically informed perspective of psychiatric interventions in the field of pain medicine, I examine the use of psychiatric medications for pain syndromes today and evaluate the interface between depression, chronic pain, and terminal illness. While not detracting from the medical imperative to alleviate pain, I question the usage of social criteria and normative judgments in the clinical decision of how to treat pain. What normalizing social function does the use of psychiatric interventions in pain treatment fulfill? This approach leads to a reexamination of perceptions of dualism in pain medicine.