Pain is a complex biopsychosocial and culturally influenced phenomenon and has been a focus of medicine since ancient times. Although experienced by the sufferer as a noxious sensation, pain sometimes performs a useful function by alerting the individual to a bodily threat that requires immediate action (taking your hand off a hot stove or avoiding putting weight on a broken bone) or that acts as a signal for a more complex threat (e.g., pain may be a symptom of cancer). In other cases, pain may simply be a byproduct of a physical or mental condition and carries no useful information. Pain can significantly affect an individual's quality of life and is one of the most common reasons that individuals seek out health care, so assessment, ...

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