Emotional distress and related memory of pain: A neurobiological review

Journal Article (Review;Journal)

The pain experience includes a sensory-discriminative and an emotional-affective component. The sensory dimension describes the quality, intensity, and spatio-temporal characteristics of the sensation. The affective dimension refers to the unpleasantness or aversion of sensation. The great progress at the genic, molecular, cellular, and systemic level on the study of the sensory dimension of pain has been made over past four decades. However, to consider only the sensory features of pain, and ignore its motivational and affective properties, is to look at only part of the problem. A line of clinic observations indicate that the patients with chronic pain suffer from much more affective disturbance than pain itself. Obviously, physiological arousal and hypervigilance to pain cause negative affect, such as fear, anxiety, angry, worry, aversion, even tendency of suicide, these negative affective states in turn enhance pain sensation. Therefore, the mechanisms underlying the affective dimension of pain have recently received more attention. In order to deepen and expand our understanding of the nature of pain, this review summarizes the main findings regarding affective component of pain in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and cell biochemistry.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhang, YQ; Zhao, ZQ; Ji, RR

Published Date

  • December 1, 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 10 - 18

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1673-7067

Citation Source

  • Scopus