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Pain in the clinic cannot be physically observed and usually cannot be independently precisely controlled. Such control is possible in laboratory studies in which pain is induced by controlled stimulation. This entry discusses how pain is assessed and measured in the laboratory as well as in the clinic.

Measurement of Pain in the Laboratory

Experimental heat, mechanical, electrical, chemical, and other forms of stimulation are extremely useful in studies of pain in both man and animals. Pain is inferred in animals from a range of physiological measurements and from reactive and operant behaviors. Those uncomfortable with human verbal reports of pain have promoted the same type of measurements for pain in humans using physiological measurements (such as spinal reflexes, cortical evoked potentials, or functional neuroimaging) and behavioral ...

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