Neuroscience

New technique to fast-track pain research

Scientists have for the first time established a sensory neuron model able to mass-reproduce two key sensory neuron types involved in pain sensation, enabling the easy generation of large numbers of the cells to fast-track ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Do antidepressants help chronic back pain and osteoarthritis?

Antidepressants are commonly used worldwide to treat pain, however new research from the University of Sydney shows they offer little to no help for people suffering chronic back pain and osteoarthritis and may even cause ...

Health

Get the facts on exercise and chronic disease

If you have a chronic condition, you might have questions about exercising. How often can you exercise? Which exercises are safe? Understand the basics about exercise and chronic disease.

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Stick to supportive shoes if you have knee pain

A randomized controlled trial found that sturdy supportive shoes improve knee pain on walking and knee-related quality of life compared with flat flexible shoes. This evidence supports recommendations that previously had ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

How can we help victims of torture?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects many people who are exposed to extreme situations, such as torture. Recent research suggests that chronic pain may make it more difficult to treat trauma.

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Pain

Pain, in the sense of physical pain, is a typical sensory experience that may be described as the unpleasant awareness of a noxious stimulus or bodily harm. Individuals experience pain by various daily hurts and aches, and sometimes through more serious injuries or illnesses. For scientific and clinical purposes, pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage".

In medicine, pain is considered as highly subjective. A definition that is widely used in nursing was first given as early as 1968 by Margo McCaffery: "Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does". Pain of any type is the most common reason for physician consultation in the United States, prompting half of all Americans to seek medical care annually. It is a major symptom in many medical conditions, significantly interfering with a person's quality of life and general functioning. Diagnosis is based on characterizing pain in various ways, according to duration, intensity, type (dull, burning, throbbing or stabbing), source, or location in body. Usually pain stops without treatment or responds to simple measures such as resting or taking an analgesic, and it is then called ‘acute’ pain. But it may also become intractable and develop into a condition called chronic pain, in which pain is no longer considered a symptom but an illness by itself. The study of pain has in recent years attracted many different fields such as pharmacology, neurobiology, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, and psychology. Pain medicine is a separate subspecialty figuring under some medical specialties like anesthesiology, physiatry, neurology, and psychiatry.

Pain is part of the body's defense system, triggering a reflex reaction to retract from a painful stimulus, and helps adjust behavior to increase avoidance of that particular harmful situation in the future. Given its significance, physical pain is also linked to various cultural, religious, philosophical, or social issues.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA