What Is Pain?

Pain is an unpleasant feeling that lets you know that something may be wrong. It is one of the body's warning signals that indicates a problem that needs attention. Pain starts in receptor nerve cells located beneath the skin and in organs throughout the body. When there is an illness, injury, or other type of problem, these receptor cells send messages along nerve pathways to the spinal cord, which then carries the message to the brain. Pain medications work by reducing or blocking these messages before they reach the brain.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is long standing pain that persists beyond the usual recovery period or occurs along with a chronic health condition, such as arthritis. Chronic pain may be intermittent or continuous. It may affect people to the point that they cannot work, eat properly, participate in physical activity, or enjoy life.

Chronic pain is considered a major medical condition that can and should be treated. It involves all aspects of a person's life. The most effective treatment includes not only relief of symptoms, but also other types of support. A multidisciplinary approach to pain management can often provide the needed care to help manage the pain. Stanford's pain management team works together to provide each patient with the specialized care and support they need.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Hospital & Clinics patient, you have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Our Clinics

See a Stanford specialist to learn about your treatment options. Visit one of our clinics to make an appointment.