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1) According to the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), pain is “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
As well as this definition the IASP also added an extensive list of side notes to help clarify what pain is.
The list includes:
Pain is subjective. For this reason this definition does not tie pain to the stimulus. Different people react to a stimulus in various ways. Similarly, the same person may respond differently to the same stimulus under different emotional circumstances.
Individuals are taught what to associate the word “pain” with through childhood experiences. Therefore pain can be influenced by culture.
Stimuli which cause pain are likely to damage tissue
Pain is also an emotional experience
People experience pain without any physical trauma, therefore pain is also a psychological concern.
If someone claims to be in pain, even without physical signs, they should be treated as though they are in pain.
(Merskey and Bogduk, 2012)

Although regarded as an unpleasant experience, pain can be very beneficial: it acts as a warning mechanism to alert us of a danger, either from an external or internal source. By being aware of the danger we can respond accordingly to avoid or restrict damage being done to the body.

2) When the tissue is damaged it is registered by pain receptors (nociceptors) in the skin. The pain receptors form one end of a neuron which is connected at the other end in the spinal cord via the axon. When activated, the nocioceptors send an electrical signal along the neuron to the spinal cord.
In the part of the spinal cord called the dorsal horn, chemical transmitters (neurotransmitters) ca...

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... pain (nociception) occurs. This overrides the inhibitory neuron, and the signal is sent to the brain (gate is open).
Information from the brain can descend down the projection neurons and inhibit the perception of pain (closing the gate).
This theory explains why, if you rub or shake your hand after a mild injury, you can reduce the perception of pain. Merskey, H. and Bogduk, N.
IASP Taxonomy - IASP
In-text: (Merskey and Bogduk, 2012)
Bibliography: Merskey, H. and Bogduk, N. 2012. IASP Taxonomy - IASP. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Apr 2014].
Pain and how you sense it -
In-text: (, 2007)
Bibliography: 2007. Pain and how you sense it - [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Apr 2014].

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