Mechanisms of Pain

  • Aya Nakae


No one can deny that pain serves as an alarm. Sometimes pain informs us about severe abnormalities inside our body. However, pain (in particular, chronic pain) does not always have the role of an alarm. Pain itself can be harmful, as in the case of patients with chronic pain. Thus, we should reveal the mechanisms of pain and control it even though this is a challenging task. Pain is always subjective to individuals, and we have no definitive and objective evaluation methods for measuring pain. Indeed, pain is very complex and difficult to understand. In this chapter, in order to better understand the complex phenomenon of pain, I first discuss the definitions and classifications of pain. Second, I explain methods for evaluating pain, including the methods of potential objective evaluation. Lastly, I describe the relationship between pain and the central nervous system, especially with respect to cognitive function, emotion, and psychiatric illness. I expect that there will be a paradigm shift in pain treatment in the future; studies of the affective components of pain will greatly progress, and drug discovery research will specifically aim at reducing pain.


Pain mechanisms Emotion Psychiatric disease Pain behavior Pain evaluation 

Supplementary material


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© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Immunology Frontier Research CenterOsaka UniversitySuitaJapan

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