What Is Pain?
According to the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), pain is defined as 'an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage'.
Pain is subjective. What may be experienced as painful by one person may be completely painless to another. Many factors (physical, psychogenic as well as social) go into determining the severity of pain.
There are several types of pain:
Nociceptive pain is caused by damage to a body part, e.g. a torn muscle or a broken bone. Pain sensors transmit pain signals via the peripheral nerves and the bone marrow to the brain. Nociceptive pain is experienced in one single location, and may either nag or throb. Examples of noniceptive pain include broken limbs and burns.
Neuropathic (nerve) pain is caused by damage to nerves or the nervous system. It tends to develop following injuries and/or surgery.
Pain can last a long time. When it lasts longer than three months, it is called chronic pain.
- Dutch Pain Society