Concept

Pain

Summary
Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage." Pain motivates organisms to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future. Most pain resolves once the noxious stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but it may persist despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body. Sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage or disease. Pain is the most common reason for physician consultation in most developed countries. It is a major symptom in many medical conditions, and can interfere with a person's quality of life and general functioning. People in pain experience impaired concentration, working memory, mental flexibility, problem solving and information processing speed, and are more likely to experience irritability, depression and anxiety. Simple pain medications are useful in 20% to 70% of cases. Psychological factors such as social support, cognitive behavioral therapy, excitement, or distraction can affect pain's intensity or unpleasantness. First attested in English in 1297, the word peyn comes from the Old French peine, in turn from Latin poena meaning "punishment, penalty" (also meaning "torment, hardship, suffering" in Late Latin) and that from Greek ποινή (poine), generally meaning "price paid, penalty, punishment". The International Association for the Study of Pain recommends using specific features to describe a patient's pain: region of the body involved (e.g. abdomen, lower limbs), system whose dysfunction may be causing the pain (e.g., nervous, gastrointestinal), duration and pattern of occurrence, intensity, and cause Chronic pain Pain is usually transitory, lasting only until the noxious stimulus is removed or the underlying damage or pathology has healed, but some painful conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, cancer and idiopathic pain, may persist for years.
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