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Pain

Summary

Pain is a signal in your nervous system that something may be wrong. It is an unpleasant feeling, such as a prick, tingle, sting, burn, or ache. Pain may be sharp or dull. It may come and go, or it may be constant. You may feel pain in one area of your body, such as your back, abdomen, chest, pelvis, or you may feel pain all over.

Pain can be helpful in diagnosing a problem. If you never felt pain, you might seriously hurt yourself without knowing it, or you might not realize you have a medical problem that needs treatment.

There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain usually comes on suddenly, because of a disease, injury, or inflammation. It can often be diagnosed and treated. It usually goes away, though sometimes it can turn into chronic pain. Chronic pain lasts for a long time, and can cause severe problems.

Pain is not always curable, but there are many ways to treat it. Treatment depends on the cause and type of pain. There are drug treatments, including pain relievers. There are also non-drug treatments, such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Start Here

  • (Merck & Co., Inc.)
  • (American Society of Anesthesiologists)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in
  • (Ohio State University Medical Center) - PDF
  • (American Osteopathic Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Pain Relievers: MedlinePlus Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Living With

  • (American Geriatrics Society) - PDF
  • (American Chronic Pain Association) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American Chronic Pain Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (NIH Pain Consortium)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) - PDF

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Videos and Tutorials

Statistics and Research

  • (American Academy of Pain Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Nursing Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Seniors

  • (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging) Also in

Patient Handouts