#15-03 Mt. Elizabeth Medical Centre
3 Mt. Elizabeth, Singapore 228510



The IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.

Chronic Pain is defined as discomfort that persists for more than 3 months. This can be either nociceptive or neuropathic. Nociceptive aching is linked with an external stimulus. Neuropathic discomfort is caused by nerve damage. Neuropathic discomfort occurs in the absence of detectable ongoing tissue damage.



Extreme discomfort due to a stimulus which does not normally provoke a feeling of agony.


Absence of any hurt in response to stimulation which would normally be painful.

Anesthesia Dolorosa

Hurting in an area or region which is anesthetic.


A syndrome of sustained burning agony, allodynia, and hyperpathia after a traumatic nerve lesion, often combined with vasomotor and sudomotor dysfunction and later trophic changes.

Central Pain

Agony initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the central nervous system.


An unpleasant abnormal sensation, whether spontaneous or evoked.


An increased response to a stimulus which is normally painful. Hyperesthesia increased sensitivity to stimulation, excluding the special senses.


A painful syndrome characterized by an abnormally painful reaction to a stimulus, especially a repetitive stimulus, as well as an increased threshold.


Diminished discomfort in response to a normally painful stimulus.


Decreased sensitivity to stimulation, excluding the special senses.


Aching in the distribution of a nerve or nerves.


Inflammation of a nerve or nerves.

Neuropathic Pain

Hurting initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system.


A disturbance of function or pathological change in a nerve: in one nerve, mononeuropathy; in several nerves, mononeuropathy multiplex; if diffuse and bilateral, polyneuropathy.


A receptor preferentially sensitive to a noxious stimulus or to a stimulus which would become noxious if prolonged.

Noxious Stimulus

A noxious stimulus is one which is damaging to normal tissues.

Pain Tolerance Level

The greatest level of agony which a subject is prepared to tolerate.


An abnormal sensation, whether spontaneous or evoked.

Peripheral Neurogenic

Irritation initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction or transitory perturbation in the peripheral nervous system.

Peripheral Neuropathic

Irritation initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the peripheral nervous system.

Common Pain Problems


It can be caused by muscle tension, migraine, neck problems (cervical disc prolapses) and less commonly by strokes, brain tumors and head injury.

Facial Pains

A condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia is caused by pressure on the Vth Cranial nerve next to the brainstem. This is often due to an abnormal position of a blood vessel compressing this nerve. Rarely tumors and arteriovenous malformations can cause this problem.

Neck And Back Pains

This can be caused by slipped discs or herniated discs which press on nerve roots in the spine. Other causes include facet degeneration and bony spurs pressing on the nerve roots. Chemicals produced by degenerating discs can also be a cause of such agony. Instability in the spine can cause irritation. This can be degenerative or subsequent to an injury.


This refers to ache shooting down a leg. This is often a sign of nerve root compression by a slipped disc.

Hand Pains

This can be caused by herniated discs in the neck or by thickened ligaments pressing peripheral nerves in the wrist – carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve) or in the elbow-cubital tunnel syndrome (ulnar nerve).

Other Pain Syndromes

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Fibromyalgia, amputation/phantom aches, post-herpetic neuralgia, brachial/lumbar plexus avulsion pain, T2 Syndrome, etc.