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Pain: Pain overview

Brought to you by Pain@Otago

Introduction to the guide and how to navigate

Haere Mai!

This guide is a comprehensive collection of pain related resources for intending and current students, staff, and professionals at University of Otago. The guide is developed and maintained by members of Pain@Otago and consists of recent and important sources of knowledge on pain, including pain experience, assessment, and management. Although it is comprehensive, it is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information on pain.

How to use the Guide     

 The guide is organized into different side tabs. The overarching headings are in the dark blue font [e.g., Pain overview, Pain management]. 

Within each heading, different sections are available; each with its own sub-page or tabbed boxes.

Explore the latest news, events and research from Pain@Otago members.

Quick start

Recommended Watch

Understanding pain – and what’s to be done about it in 10 minutes (New Zealand)  [ 10 mins]

Other recommended videos

 Why do we hurt?  [ 14 mins]  

 Do we actually experience pain, or is it an illusion? Pain scientist Prof. Lorimer Moseley explores these questions


 How does your brain respond to pain? [ 4 mins]

 Neuroscientist Prof. Karen D. Davis explains  why the "pain experience" differs from person to person.


  Understanding pain & what to do about it  [ 6 mins]

 A short video on chronic pain by the Defense & Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, USA.


  Living with persistent pain [ 48 mins, Requires university log in] 

  Documentary exploring lived experiences of those with persistent pain.


  Pain as a warning sign  [ 29 mins, Requires university log in]

 How to think about and approach pain in children? 


Secret world of pain  [ 60 mins]  

Geneticist Dr. John Woods travels the world in search of people who feel pain in strange ways or don’t feel pain at all.

Pain management as a fundamental human right:

  The International Association for Study of Pain (IASP) describes pain as:

An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.

This updated definition is accompanied by six key notes: pain is a personal experience, pain and nociception are different, individuals learn pain through life experiences, a person's pain experience should be respected, although pain usually serves an adaptive role it may cause adverse effects on function and well-being, pain is expressed in more ways than just through verbal communication. 

In addition, the IASP also provides definitions for several terminologies such as allodynia, analgesia, paresthesia, causalgia, dysesthesia, hyperalgesia, hyperesthesia, hyperpathia, hypoalgesia, nociception, etc. which can be accessed by clicking here.

Key Organisations:

Health Navigator NZ logo The Health Navigator New Zealand website is a trustworthy source of health information and self-care resources for New Zealanders and includes a vast range of information on pain.


 The  International Association for the Study of Pain is a global organization with more than 7,000 members from 125 countries which promotes research, education, and policies for the understanding, prevention, and treatment of pain. 


Other important organisations:

New from Pain@Otago

Latest News & Events:

Latest research in PubMed:

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