Pain is: “ An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with existent or possible tissue harm, or described in footings of such harm ” 1-3, as proposed by the International Association for the Study of Pain ( IASP ) . Pain is subjective. Each single learns the application of the word through experiences related to injury in early life. Noxious stimulations are apt to damage tissue. Pain is an experience we associate with existent or possible tissue harm. It is ever an unpleasant and therefore emotional experience. In several instances hurting is reported in the absence of tissue harm or any likely pathophysiological cause. Normally there is no manner to separate the experience of hurting perceptual experience from that due to weave harm. If the hurting experience is reported as hurting in the same manner as caused by tissue harm, it should be accepted as hurting. “ Pain is what the patient says it is, bing whenever the sing individual says it does ” 4. This definition avoids associating hurting to the stimulation. Activity induced in the nociceptor and nociceptive tracts by a noxious stimulation is non hurting, which is ever a psychological province, even though we may good appreciate that hurting most frequently has a proximate physical cause.

Pain Terminology


Pain due to a stimulation which does non usually arouse hurting is termed allodynia. It involves a alteration in the quality of a esthesis, whether tactile, thermic or of any kind. The original mode is usually non-painful, but the response is painful. There is a loss of specificity of centripetal mode 2,5.


Analgesia is the term used for the absence of hurting in response to stimulation which usually would be painful. Analgesia implies a defined stimulation and a defined response 2,5.

Anaesthesia Dolorosa

Anaesthesia dolorosa is pain in an country or part which is anesthetic 2,5.


Causalgia is a syndrome of sustained combustion hurting, allodynia, and hyperpathia after nervus lesion, frequently combined with vasomotor and sudomotor disfunction and subsequently trophic alterations 2.

Cardinal Pain

Pain initiated or caused by a primary lesion or disfunction in the cardinal nervous system is termed cardinal hurting 2,5.


Dysesthesia is an unpleasant unnatural esthesis, whether self-generated or evoked. Compared with hurting and with paraesthesia, particular instances of dyseshesia include hyperalgesia and allodynia. A dysesthesia should ever be unpleasant and a paraesthesia should non be unpleasant, although it is recognized that the boundary line may show some troubles when it comes to make up one’s minding as to whether a esthesis is pleasant or unpleasant. It should ever be specified whether the esthesiss are self-generated or evoked 2,5.


Hyperalgesia is an increased response to a stimulation which is usually painful 5. It reflects increased hurting on suprathreshold stimulation. It is an increased response at a normal threshold or at an increased threshold, in patients with neuropathy. Hyperalgesia is a effect of disturbance of the nociceptive system with peripheral or cardinal sensitisation, or both 2.


Hyperesthesia is an increased sensitiveness to stimulation, excepting the particular senses 5. The stimulation and venue should be specified. It may mention to assorted manners of cutaneal esthesia including touch and thermic esthesis without hurting, every bit good as to trouble. The term is used to bespeak both lessened threshold to any stimulation and an increased response to stimuli that are usually recognised. Hyperesthesia includes both, allodynia and hyperalgesia, but the more specific footings should be used wherever they are applicable 2.


Hyperpathia is a painful syndrome characterized by an abnormally painful reaction to a stimulation, particularly a insistent stimulation, every bit good as an increased threshold 5. It may happen with allodynia, hyperesthesia, hyperalgesia, or dysethesia. Faulty designation and localisation of the stimulation, hold, radiating esthesis and after-sensation may be present, and the hurting is frequently explosive in character. The alterations are the specification of allodynia and the inclusion of hyperalgesia explicitly. Previously hyperalgesia was implied, since hyperesthesia was mentioned in the old note and hyperalgesia is a particular instance of hyperesthesia 2.


Diminished hurting in response to a usually painful stimulation is termed hypoalgesia 5. It is defined as lessened sensitiveness to noxious stimulation, doing it a peculiar instance of hypesthesia. However, it now refers merely to the happening of comparatively less hurting in response to stimulation that produces hurting. Hypesthesia covers the instance of lessened sensitiveness to stimulation that is usually painful 2.

The deductions of some of the above definitions may be summarized as in table 1.

Table 1: Types of hurting summarized.


Hypoesthesia is a reduced sensitiveness to stimulation, excepting the particular senses. In instance of hypesthesia the stimulation and venue must be specified 2.


Neuralgia is pain in the distribution of a nervus or nervousnesss 5. Common use, particularly in Europe, frequently implies a paroxysmal quality, but neuralgia should non be reserved for paroxysmal strivings 2.


Inflammation of a nervus or nervousnesss is termed neuritis 5. This term must non be used unless redness is proven to be present 2.

Neurogenic Pain

The term neurogenic hurting is used for hurting initiated or caused by a primary lesion, disfunction, or ephemeral disturbance in the peripheral or cardinal nervous system 2,5.

Neuropathic Pain

Pain initiated or caused by a primary lesion or disfunction in the nervous system is termed neuropathic hurting. See besides neurogenic hurting and cardinal hurting. Peripheral neuropathic hurting occurs when the lesion or disfunction affects the peripheral nervous system. Central hurting may be retained as the term when the lesion or disfunction affects the cardinal nervous system 2.


Neuropathy is a perturbation of map or pathological alteration in a nervus. When it occurs in one nervus it is termed: mononeuropathy. When several nervousnesss are involved the term: mononeuropathy multiplex is to be used. The term: polyneuropathy is to be used in instance of diffuse and bilateral peripheral nervus job 2,5.

Nervous Plasticity

Nervous malleability means the nociceptive input taking to structural and functional alterations that may do altered perceptual processing and contribute to trouble chronicity 5.


A nociceptor is a receptor preferentially sensitive to a noxious stimulation or to a stimulation which would go noxious if drawn-out 5. The footings like hurting receptor, hurting tracts, etc. must be avoided 2.


Nociception is the activation of centripetal transduction in nervousnesss by thermic, mechanical, or clinical energy encroaching on specialised nervus terminations. The nervus ( s ) involved conveys information about tissue harm to the cardinal nervous system 5.

Noxious Stimulation

A noxious stimulation is one which is damaging to normal tissues. Although the definition of a noxious stimulation has been retained, the term is non used in this list to specify other footings 2. A noxious stimulation is besides defined as a stimulation capable of activation receptors for tissue harm 5.

Pain Threshold

The least experience of hurting which a topic can acknowledge is termed the hurting threshold 5. Traditionally the threshold has frequently been defined, as the least stimulus strength at which a topic perceives hurting. Properly defined, the threshold is truly the experience of the patient, whereas the strength measured is an external event. It has been common use for most pain research workers to specify the threshold in footings of the stimulation, and that should be avoided. However, the threshold stimulation can be recognized as such and measured. In psychophysics, thresholds are defined as the degree at which 50 % of stimulations are recognized as painful. The stimulation is non pain and can non be a step of hurting 2.

Pain Tolerance Level

The greatest degree of hurting which a topic is prepared to digest is termed the hurting tolerance degree 5. As with hurting threshold, the hurting tolerance degree is the subjective experience of the person. The stimulation which are usually measured in relation to its production are the hurting tolerance degree stimulations and non the degree itself. Therefore, the same statement applies to trouble tolerance degree as to trouble threshold, and it is non defined in footings of the external stimulation as such 2.


Paresthesia is an unnatural esthesis, whether self-generated or evoked 5. It is used to depict an unnatural esthesis that is non unpleasant while dyseshesia be used preferentially for an unnatural esthesis that is considered to be unpleasant. The usage of one term ( paraesthesia ) to bespeak self-generated esthesiss and the other to mention to arouse esthesiss is non favoured. There is a sense in which, since paraesthesia refers to unnatural esthesiss in general, it might include dysesthesia, but the contrary is non true. Dysesthesia does non include all unnatural esthesiss, but merely those which are unpleasant 2.

Peripheral Neurogenic Pain

Pain initiated or caused by a primary lesion or disfunction or ephemeral disturbance in the peripheral nervous system is termed peripheral neurogenic hurting 2,5.

Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Peripheral neuropathic hurting is the term used for hurting initiated or caused by a primary lesion or disfunction in the peripheral nervous system 2.

Psychogenic Pain

Psychogenic hurting is the coverage of hurting attributable chiefly to psychological factors normally in the absence of any nonsubjective physical pathology that could account for hurting. This term is normally used in a dyslogistic sense and is non normally an effectual method of depicting a patient 5.

Referred Pain

Pain localized non to the site of its cause but to an country that may be next to or at a distance from such a site is termed referred hurting. For illustration shoulder hurting can be caused by an diaphragmic annoyances 6.

Weave Up

Wind up, means the 2nd hurting induced by a slow temporal summing up of hurting mediated by C fibers. It is caused by insistent noxious stimulation slower than one stimulation every 3 seconds. Consequently the topic may see a gradual addition in the sensed magnitude of hurting 5.

Categorization of Pain

Nociceptive hurting arises from the stimulation of specific hurting receptors. These receptors can react to heat, cold, quiver, stretch and chemical stimulations released from tissue hurt. Non nociceptive hurting arises from within the peripheral and cardinal nervous system. Specific receptors do non be here, with hurting being generated by nervus cell disfunction 7.

Figure 1: Categorization of hurting.

Bodily Pain

Musculoskeletal hurting can happen as a consequence of hurt in tissues such as: tegument, musculus, articulations, castanetss, and ligaments. Specific receptors ( nociceptors ) for heat, cold, quiver, stretch, redness and O famishment are involved. A crisp and good localized hurting can frequently be provoked by touching or traveling the country or tissue involved 7.

Visceral Pain

Variety meats can be the cause of hurting. Specific receptors ( nociceptors ) for stretch, redness, and O famishment ( ischemia ) can be involved. The hurting perceived is frequently ill localised, and may experience like a obscure deep aching, sometimes being cramping or flatulent in nature. It often produces referred hurting to the dorsum. Pelvic hurting refers pain to the lower dorsum, abdominal hurting to the mid-back, and thoracic hurting to the upper back 7.

Nerve Pain

Nerve hurting occurs within the nervous system itself. The hurting may arise from the peripheral nervous system or from the cardinal nervous system. Nerve hurting can be caused by: devolution ( multiple induration, shot, encephalon bleeding, and oxygen famishment ) , force per unit area or strain ( trapped nervus ) , redness or infection. The nervous system does non hold specific receptors for hurting ( non nociceptive ) . Alternatively, when a nervus becomes injured, its conductivity becomes unstable, firing off signals in a wholly inappropriate, random, and broken manner. This phenomen is besides termed ectopic pacesetter or unnatural impuls generated sites ( AIGS ) . The urges so are interpreted by the encephalon as hurting, and can be associated with marks of nervus malfunction such as hypersensitivity ( touch, quiver, hot and cold ) , prickling, numbness, and failing. There is frequently referred hurting to an country where that nervus would usually provide ( neurotome ) . Nerve hurting is frequently described as lancinating, hiting, combustion, and allergic 7.

Sympathetic Pain

Sympathetic hurting is caused by possible over-activity response of the sympathetic nervous system, and cardinal or peripheral nervous system mechanisms. The sympathetic nervous system controls blood flow to weave such as tegument and musculus, sudating by the tegument, and the velocity and reactivity of the peripheral nervous system. Sympathetic hurting occurs more normally after breaks and soft tissue hurts of the weaponries and legs but can be present in the pelvic country aswell. These hurts may take to complex regional hurting syndrome. CRPS was antecedently known as automatic sympathetic dystrophy. There are no specific hurting receptors that induce CRPS but a disbalance of the nervous system may run in CRPS. The hypersensitivity in the tegument around the hurt and besides peripherally is associated with abnormalcies of perspiration and temperature control in the country. Functio leasi occurs with musculus wasting, joint jobs, contractures, and osteoporosis as a consequence. It is possible that the syndrome is initiated by injury to the little peripheral nervousnesss near to the hurt 7.

Taxonomies Related to Trouble

The taxonomy of chronic hurting syndromes is a hard topic. Bonica referred the linguistic communication ambiguity as “ a modern tower of Babel ” 8. Taxonomy and categorization of hurting is of import placing mark groups, conduct research and the attack of patients 5. The categorization of hurting can be adept based 9, anatomy based, continuance based, etiologic 10, organic structure system based 11, mechanism based 12 and/or based on badness utilizing a scale theoretical account ( VAS ) 13-16. Multidimensional sytems of hurting categorization exist and are proposed by the International Association for the Study of Pain Taxonomy. The IASP has published an expert-based multiaxial categorization of chronic hurting 2,3.

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