Listen to expert explanations about where pain comes from, what it is and how pain becomes a condition in its own right.
Understanding the causes of pain can be an important step towards learning to self-manage your own pain, helping to reduce concern and to make you feel more confident about movement. It is also important for health professionals, families and friends of people with pain and the wider public to learn more about pain so that together we can improve the levels of understanding and support people living with pain receive.
Understanding Pain: What to do about it in less than five minutes?
Watch this YouTube video for a very short introduction to pain:
This video was produced by the Hunter Integrated Pain Service, New South Wales, Australia and is released under a creative commons licence.
What is pain and what causes it?
There are two different kinds of pain we can experience: acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain is the pain you get after you bang your knee, have an operation or a heart attack. It lasts for a limited period of time and usually responds well to medication.
Chronic pain is pain which persists or recurs for more than three months. It is now recognised as a condition in its own right.
It may be pain related to another condition (such as rheumatoid arthtritis or diabetes).
It may be pain from an injury or operation which continues after healing would normally take place.
It may have no detectable cause in injury, illness or operation.
Chronic pain is thought to be caused by problems with the nervous system, sending pain signals to the brain although there is no evidence of tissue damage.