Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version


  • Lauren StuttsAffiliated withDepartment of Health and Human Values, Davidson College Email author 



Short Description or Definition

Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage” (International Association for the Study of Pain 1994). Neuropathic pain is described as pain that occurs in the peripheral or central nervous system (Bennett 2010). On the other hand, psychogenic/psychosomatic pain is defined as pain stemming from psychological or behavioral factors (Taylor 2008).


Pain is typically categorized as either acute or chronic (Straub 2014). Acute pain lasts for fewer than 6 months and typically responds to treatment, whereas chronic pain lasts longer than 6 months. Chronic pain can be constant, intermittent, and/or progressive. Furthermore, there are a myriad pain conditions from fibromyalgia to complex regional pain syndrome to trigeminal neuralgia, among others.


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