Translating Chronic Pain Research Into Practice: Chronic Pain and the Brain

The changing landscape of chronic pain research has yielded new ways to describe pain. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines chronic pain as ongoing or recurrent pain that lasts beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury, or more than 3 to 6 months, and which adversely affects the individual's well-being.1 IASP also offers a "simpler definition" of chronic or persistent pain: "pain that continues when it should not." The Association defines central pain as pain due to a primary lesion in the spinal cord, brainstem, or cerebral hemispheres.1 The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) defines central pain syndrome as follows: "Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson's disease."2 continue to original article...