Related topics: chronic pain · brain · patients · arthritis · osteoarthritis

Training robots to relieve chronic pain

Researchers at Swinburne have developed a collaborative robot system to automatically treat back, neck and head pain caused by soft tissue injury.

Mole rats are pain-free, thanks to evolution

African mole rats are insensitive to many kinds of pain. As an international research team led by the MDC's Gary Lewin reports in Science, this characteristic has allowed mole rats to populate new habitats. Thanks to a genetic ...

Chemists ID possible addiction-free pain reliever

An estimated 1.7 million Americans suffer from substance abuse disorders related to opioid use for pain relief, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This causes an economic burden of more than $78 billion per ...

Stop aging in space

Wrinkles, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a clumsy brain are all natural consequences of getting old. As our cells rust over time, a key to fighting chronic disease may be in tiny, smartly designed particles that have ...

It's 2019 – where's my supersuit?

I loved the "Thundercats" cartoon as a child, watching cat-like humanoids fighting the forces of evil. Whenever their leader was in trouble, he'd unleash the Sword of Omens to gain "sight beyond sight," the ability to see ...

Image: Cold plasma tested on ISS

Low-temperature plasma – electrically charged gas – that was originally tested aboard the International Space Station is now being harnessed to kill drug-resistant bacteria and viruses that can cause infections in hospital.

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Pain

Pain, in the sense of physical pain, is a typical sensory experience that may be described as the unpleasant awareness of a noxious stimulus or bodily harm. Individuals experience pain by various daily hurts and aches, and sometimes through more serious injuries or illnesses. For scientific and clinical purposes, pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage".

In medicine, pain is considered as highly subjective. A definition that is widely used in nursing was first given as early as 1968 by Margo McCaffery: "Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does". Pain of any type is the most common reason for physician consultation in the United States, prompting half of all Americans to seek medical care annually. It is a major symptom in many medical conditions, significantly interfering with a person's quality of life and general functioning. Diagnosis is based on characterizing pain in various ways, according to duration, intensity, type (dull, burning, throbbing or stabbing), source, or location in body. Usually pain stops without treatment or responds to simple measures such as resting or taking an analgesic, and it is then called ‘acute’ pain. But it may also become intractable and develop into a condition called chronic pain, in which pain is no longer considered a symptom but an illness by itself. The study of pain has in recent years attracted many different fields such as pharmacology, neurobiology, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, and psychology. Pain medicine is a separate subspecialty figuring under some medical specialties like anesthesiology, physiatry, neurology, and psychiatry.

Pain is part of the body's defense system, triggering a reflex reaction to retract from a painful stimulus, and helps adjust behavior to increase avoidance of that particular harmful situation in the future. Given its significance, physical pain is also linked to various cultural, religious, philosophical, or social issues.

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