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Basic Science and Pain Models

Bridging the gap between basic research and patient care with the ultimate goal of reducing the suffering that often accompanies pain.

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What is Basic Science and Pain Models?

Basic science and pain models bring laboratory science to our understanding of pain experienced in humans. Basic science refers to the use of animal models (most commonly, mice and rats) to better explain the effects of pain in the brain and guide research related to pain conditions. 

Animal models mimic clinical diseases to better evaluate underlying mechanisms and potential treatments while human experimental pain models act as a translational bridge between animal and clinical research. Many of the mechanisms tested in animals can also be evaluated in healthy volunteers to predict the effectiveness of a drug or therapy in specific patient populations. Pain models, ultimately, help develop strategies for improved pain management.

Types of pain models

Experimental pain models explore the pain system under controlled settings. Most pain models measure pain provoked by thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical stimuli in the following areas:

  • Inflammatory
  • Joint
  • Visceral
  • Postoperative (Incisional)
  • Orofacial
  • Muscle
  • Neuropathic
  • Cancer
Learn More About Basic Science and Pain Models

Resources to Learn More about Basic Science and Pain Models

Pain is the most common complaint people make when seeking medical care. The more we understand about the anatomy and physiology related to the experience of pain, the better we can learn to prevent, treat, and manage it. For more information about basic science and pain models, the International Association for the Study of Pain offers a variety of resources, such as factsheets, webinars, journal articles, and resources relevant to people living with pain conditions.

Meet the Basic Science and Pain Models Expert

Meet Basic Science and Pain Models Expert, Thomas Graven-Nielsen

Thomas Graven-Nielsen is Chair of the Membership and Chapters Committee of the International Association for the Study of Pain and Director of the Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP) at Aalborg University in Denmark. IASP wishes to thank Professor Graven-Nielsen for volunteering his time and expertise helping to curate the content for this topic page.


IASP is making an impact on Basic Science and Pain Models

The International Association for the Study of Pain has named 2022 the Global Year for Translating Pain Knowledge to Practice. This year's theme focuses on increasing the awareness of clinicians, scientists, and the public of our growing pain knowledge and how it can benefit those living with pain.

IASP SIGs making an impact on the study of basic science and pain models include the Non-Human Pain SIG, which encourages basic and clinical research on the recognition of pain in animals, and the Itch SIG, which provides a forum for members to engage in discussion on itch, its basic mechanisms and translation to clinical treatment.

IASP has also developed ethical guidelines for the use of animals in research and pain research in humans.