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What causes pain?

Pain is a complex process. It occurs when a harmful event, such as extremes of heat, cold, or pressure triggers nerve pathways. The nerve signals are received by the brain as a pain sensation. Pain serves as a warning that damage to the body is occurring.

Following an injury, damaged tissues release a mixture of chemical signals and cells – the ‘inflammatory soup’ - into the surrounding areas. This causes inflammation, associated with redness, heat and swelling in the affected area, together with an increase in sensitivity or tenderness to pain.

Treating pain promptly

Most pain is temporary, or acute, and only lasts until the cause of the pain is removed and the damage heals. Chronic pain is pain that occurs for long periods of time or keeps returning. In chronic pain, pain may persist even after the original injury has healed. Prompt and effective treatment may prevent acute pain from becoming chronic.

Pain can occur in many different areas of your body, and everyone experiences pain differently. However, there is agreement on one point: most people who experience pain want it to disappear as quickly as possible.