Neuroscience

Scientists shed light on how brains turn pain up or down

Pain perception is essential for survival, but how much something hurts can sometimes be amplified or suppressed: for example, soldiers who sustain an injury in battle often recall not feeling anything at the time.

Medical research

A more accurate way to gauge pain in mice

For decades, biomedical researchers have used mouse behavior to study pain, but some researchers have questioned the accuracy of the interpretations of how mice experience pain.

Medications

Estuarine waters hold promise in global pain-relief hunt

The worldwide search for an opioid alternative has made a leap forward—with a scientific discovery in an Australian fungus indicating effective pain relief and the potential for a safer less addictive drug, helping address ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Mindfulness may reduce opioid cravings, study finds

People suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain may have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both mindfulness techniques and medication for opioid dependence, according to Rutgers and other researchers.

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Osteoarthritis can increase your risk for social isolation

When older adults become lonely—a condition health professionals call "social isolation"—their health and well-being can suffer. In fact, there may be a link between being socially isolated and osteoarthritis (arthritis) ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

New evidence that steroid injections of hip and knee may damage joints

Corticosteroid injections used to treat osteoarthritis pain in the hip and knee may be more dangerous than previously thought, according to a special report published in the journal Radiology. Researchers suggested that injection-associated ...

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Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting alcohol on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone." The International Association for the Study of Pain has a definition that is widely used: "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage".

Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future. Most pain resolves promptly once the painful stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but sometimes pain persists despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body; and sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage or disease.

Pain is the most common reason for physician consultation in the United States. It is a major symptom in many medical conditions, and can significantly interfere with a person's quality of life and general functioning. Psychological factors such as social support, hypnotic suggestion, excitement, or distraction can significantly modulate pain's intensity or unpleasantness.

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