Pain is a Complex Sensory Event

Pain can be a useful warning signal, an alarm that prevents us from damaging our bodies irreparably as we go about daily life. On the other hand, pain arising late in the course of disease or produced by dysfunction of the nervous system has no survival value. Indeed, there is accumulating evidence that pain per se can have adverse health effects. For example, pain has been demonstrated in animal studies to inhibit immune function and to enhance tumor growth. In humans, appropriate pain management can be shown to enhance healing. Pain is thus an important clinical issue in its own right.

Although pain is part of everyday life, a clinically and scientifically useful definition of pain is not straightforward. This becomes particularly important when considering some of the types of pain with significant clinical impact. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) therefore developed a consensus definition of pain that is now widely accepted....


Neuropathic Pain Dorsal Horn Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Pain Sensation Dorsal Horn Neuron 
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Selected Readings

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Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary M. Heinricher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurological SurgeryOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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