IASP Council Adopts Task Force Recommendation for Third Mechanistic Descriptor of Pain

Nov 14, 2017

The IASP Council has accepted the recommendation of a Presidential Terminology Task Force to approve a third mechanistic descriptor of pain. The task force defined “nociplastic pain” as “pain that arises from altered nociception despite no clear evidence of actual or threatened tissue damage causing the activation of peripheral nociceptors or evidence for disease or lesion of the somatosensory system causing the pain.”

In July 2016, the task force published a topical review in PAIN that proposed the third mechanistic descriptor for clinical classification of chronic pain. Reactions to the article overall were positive, and the journal subsequently published three letters to the editor that discussed the new descriptor.

In an October report to the Council recommending adoption of the term, the task force suggested that implementation of the third mechanistic descriptor has the potential to:

  • confer validity on the patient’s experience of pain;
  • facilitate communication between patients, clinicians, researchers, and other stakeholders;
  • improve diagnosis and treatment by encouraging clinicians to screen for signs of altered nociceptive function; and
  • stimulate research by identifying altered nociceptive function as an important area for mechanistic studies, establishment of treatment guidelines, and development of new treatment strategies