Articles

Pain has a new meaning

Gabrielle Lis

A change to the definition of pain offered by a key international organisation could change treatment approaches - and improve outcomes - for people with chronic pain.

Once upon a time, pain was understood to be a symptom of injury or disease. The appropriate response, from a clinical perspective, was therefore to alleviate the bothersome symptom (usually with pharmacological painkillers) while identifying and curing the real problem. Chronic pain – which can persist even though the original injury or disease has resolved – did not fit this model. Rather than questioning the model, treating practiti...

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