Recent Physiological Studies of Pain

  • Ronald Melzack
  • Joel Katz
Part of the Current Management of Pain book series (CUMP, volume 9)


Pain is a subjective experience that is influenced by cultural learning, the meaning of the situation, attention, and other cognitive activities [1]. Stimulation of receptors, then, does not mark the beginning of the pain process. Rather, stimulation produces neural signals that enter an active nervous system that is already the substrate of past experience, culture, anxiety, and so forth. These brain processes actively participate in the selection, abstraction, and synthesis of information from the total sensory input. Pain, therefore, is not the end product of a simple, linear sensory transmission system, but is a dynamic process that involves continuous interactions among complex ascending and descending systems.


Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn Trigger Point Acupuncture Point Phantom Limb 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Melzack
  • Joel Katz

There are no affiliations available

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