Pain Hypersensitivity: A Bio-Psychological Explanation of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain and Underpinning Theory


Hypersensitivity is a phenomenon that has a dual role: adaptive (protective) and maladaptive (pathological) based on different aspects of the pain mechanism. The mechanism of hypersensitivity has not been fully defined. However, it is known that over-excitability (too much sensitivity) of neurons can arise in both peripheral and central components of the nervous system. Pain theories can be useful in helping to explain complex phenomenon like hypersensitivity. The Gate control theory and other more bio-psychological pain models may assist us to understand a mechanism of chronic musculoskeletal pain. This article discusses a mechanism based pain model.

Share and Cite:

Uddin, Z. and C. MacDermid, J. (2014) Pain Hypersensitivity: A Bio-Psychological Explanation of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain and Underpinning Theory. Pain Studies and Treatment, 2, 31-35. doi: 10.4236/pst.2014.22007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Woolf, C.J. (2011) Central Sensitization: Implications for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pain. Pain, 152, S2-S15.
[2] Woolf, C.J. and Salter, M.W. (2000) Neuronal Plasticity: Increasing the Gain in Pain. Science, 288, 1765-1769.
[3] Woolf, C.J. (2010) What Is This Thing Called Pain? Journal of Clinical Investment, 120, 3742-3744.
[4] Woolf, C.J., Bennett, G., Doherty, M., et al. (1998) Towards a Mechanism-Based Classification of Pain? Pain, 77, 227-229.
[5] Merskey, H. and Bogduk, N. (1994) Classification of Chronic Pain. IASP Press, Seattle.
[6] Sandkühler, J. (2009) Models and Mechanisms of Hyperalgesia and Allodynia. Physiological Review, 89, 707-758.
[7] Henry, J.L. (2008) The Need for Knowledge Translation in Chronic Pain. Pain Research Management, 13, 465-476.
[8] Melzack, R. and Wall, P.D. (1965) Pain Mechanisms: A New Theory. Science, 150, 971-979.
[9] Melzack, R. and Wall, P.D. (1988) The Challenge of Pain. Basic Books, New York.
[10] Mallen, C., Peat, G., Thomas, E. and Croft, P. (2007) Prognostic Factors for Musculoskeletal Pain in Primary Care: A Systematic Review. British Journal of General Practice, 57, 655-661.
[11] Sandkühler, J. (2009) The Roles of Inhibition for the Generation and Amplification of Pain. In: Castro-Lopes, J., Ed., Current Topics in Pain, IASP Press, Seattle, 53-71.
[12] Kuner, R. (2010) Central Mechanisms of Pathological Pain. Natural Medicine, 16, 1258-1266.
[13] Woolf, C.J. (2004) Pain: Moving from Symptom Control toward Mechanism-Specific Pharmacologic Management. Annals of International Medicine, 140, 441-451.
[14] Curatolo, M., Arendt-Nielsen, L. and Petersen-Felix, S. (2006) Central Hypersensitivity in Chronic Pain: Mechanisms and Clinical Implications. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 17, 287-302.
[15] Mogil, J.S., Simmonds, K. and Simmonds, M.J. (2009) Pain Research from 1975 to 2007: A Categorical and Biblio- metric Meta-Trend Analysis of Every Research Paper Published in the Journal. Pain, 142, 48-58.
[16] Coronado, R.A., Riddle, D.L., Wurtzel, W.A., et al. (2011) Bibliometric Analysis of Articles Published from 1980 to 2009 in Physical Therapy. Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. Physical Therapy, 91, 642-655.
[17] Kane, K. and Taub, A. (1975) A History of Local Electrical Analgesia. Pain, 1, 125-138.
[18] Wall, P.D. and Sweet, W.H. (1967) Temporary Abolition of Pain in Man. Science, 155, 108-109.
[19] Sluka, K.A. and Walsh, D. (2003) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation: Basic Science Mechanisms and Clinical Effectiveness. Journal of Pain, 4, 109-121.
[20] IASP Taxonomy (2011) Pain Terms.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.