From nociception to perception: the complex nature of pain

Dr Daniel Harvie1

1 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University

Pain is not a linear read out of tissue damage or activity in primary nociceptors (often incorrectly termed ‘pain nerves’), which are insufficient to explain the complex range of pain experiences. Here we will discuss the nature of pain using contemporary models of perception. Particular attention will be given not only to peripheral, but also central modulating factors such as meaning, expectation, and attention—which might be tenable to manipulation in the therapeutic context. Finally, theoretical models attempting to explain persistent pain will also be explored, along with implications for both acute and chronic phases.

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