Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide

Chronic Pain

J. Greg Hobelmann, M.D., M.P.H., Michael Clark, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
Chronic Pain is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide.

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DEFINITION

  • Pain is "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage."
  • Chronic pain is usually defined as pain that persists beyond the time expected for healing of an injury or resolution of an illness.
    • Standard definitions emphasize 3-6 months’ duration, intensity of 6-7/10 on a visual analog scale (VAS), and associated emotional distress and physical impairment.
  • Chronic pain can also be defined as pain that represents an adaptation of the nervous system such that:
    • Pain continues that is an over response to a noxious stimulus.
    • Pain is a noxious experience of a neutral stimulus.

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Last updated: November 21, 2014