Pathophysiology of Pain

  • Elodie MartinEmail author
Part of the Perspectives in Nursing Management and Care for Older Adults book series (PNMCOA)


While acute pain is an alarm signal involving unpleasant sensations and vegetative and behavioural reactions, chronic pain presents with long-lasting consequences. The underlying mechanisms of pain chronicization after an acute pain episode involve both peripheral and central nervous system sensitization. In this chapter, the pathophysiology of acute and chronic pain will be described with a specific focus on elderly patients. Ageing is accompanied by physiological changes, and acute and chronic pain are a major concern for older people. Knowledge of the clinical manifestations of pain processing changes in older people is essential in guaranteeing optimal pain management.


Acute pain Chronic pain Neuropathic pain Peripheral sensitization Central sensitization Age-associated differences in pain Psychosocial aspects of pain 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Pharmacology Center, Clinical Research Center Inserm 1405University Hospital, Medical FacultyClermont-Ferrand cedexFrance

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