Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The classical model of pain, first articulated by the philosopher Descartes in the 17th century, regarded pain as a sensory experience triggered by tissue damage. Despite the fact that this model is unsupported by empirical research, it continues to be a common misconception. Research on pain has demonstrated that it is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon, with sensory, affective, cognitive, and social components. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as being both a sensory and emotional experience. It goes on to state that pain is always a subjective experience, and its presence cannot be verified by any kind of objective test. Consequently, the only way of knowing if an individual has pain is through the verbal report or other communication of that individual. Chronic pain can sometimes persist in the absence of any identifiable physical cause. In the acute phase following the onset of disease or injury, ...