It has been well documented that learning meditation techniques can reduce the pain associated with chronic and acute conditions. The body has a naturally inclined method of response to pain, as does the mind. With the strong connection to the mind, the body, and the spirit that pain can interrupt, learning meditation is a viable practice for pain management.
It's not that your pain is not real or that you can use the mind to overcome the pain without any medical treatment. It's that being in tune with all aspects of your mind and body you can actually start to help mediate pain by understanding its effects. There are many ways that this can happen, one of which is very obvious.
As a broad and extreme example, let's say the dentist is coming at your mouth with the drill sans Novocain. You know this is going to hurt and your body responds before the drill ever touches your tooth. Your muscles tense, your heart rate increases, you might sweat or become nauseated, and you are likely to quiver or shake.
On a smaller scale you body can react to all kind of pain with this same visceral reaction. Meditation can help you tune into those reactions, calm them, and help the muscles surrounding the pain loosen and relax some. This will automatically help your pain relax a bit.
Some people can get so good at tuning into their body through meditation that they can feel the smallest of adjustments and know immediately whether it was the right one to make. They can feel vertebrates move back and forth, ligaments stretch, and some say they can even feel their bones heal.
Meditation may or may not take you to an elevated level of self awareness. But it can help you recognize when your mind and spirit is making the physical pain you have much worse.