Injuries typically result in the development of neuropathic pain, which decreases in parallel with wound healing. However, the pain may remain after the injury appears to have healed, which is generally associated with an ongoing underlying pro-inflammatory state. Injury induces many cells to release factors that contribute to the development of a pro-inflammatory state, which is considered an essential first step towards wound healing. However, pain elimination requires a transition of the injury site from pro- to anti-inflammatory. Therefore, developing techniques that eliminate chronic pain require an understanding of the cells resident at and recruited to injury sites, the factors they release, that promote a pro-inflammatory state, and promote the subsequent transition of that site to be anti-inflammatory. Although a relatively large number of cells, factors, and gene expression changes are involved in these processes, it may be possible to control a relatively small number of them leading to the reduction and elimination of chronic neuropathic pain. This first of two papers examines the roles of the most salient cells and mediators associated with the development and maintenance of chronic neuropathic pain. The following paper examines the cells and mediators involved in reducing and eliminating chronic neuropathic pain.