Pain serves an important purpose in helping us avoid injury. We can compare it to a smoke detector in our homes; it is loud and obnoxious by design because it alerts us to actual or potential threat; pain in its basic form is “associated with actual or potential tissue damage” (“ IASP Terminology – IASP ,” 2017).
If pain is a smoke detector, chronic pain is a smoke detector that’s broken and continues to sound, but where you can’t pull the batteries. The International Association for the Study of Pain goes on to note that “many people report pain in the absence of tissue damage or any likely pathophysiological cause” (“ IASP Terminology – IASP ,” 2017).
Without a pathophysiological cause, doctors often feel at a loss to treat pain.