Models of Pain
Michael E. Robinson Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida
Joseph L. Riley III Claude Pepper Center for Research of Oral Health in Aging, College of Dentistry, University of Florida
Understanding chronic pain requires the clinician or researcher to organize a vast amount of clinical and experimental information about a given patient or problem. A number of conceptual models have arisen from the need to integrate this information and serve as heuristic guides to planning treatment or research projects. These have ranged from simple models of sensory transduction to more complex models involving physiological, psychological, and environmental components. As the knowledge base has increased, models have attempted to incorporate new findings and have, in general, become more complex. All models, however, represent simplifications of what are likely to be the real interrelationships between a person's physiology, his or her psychological make-up, history, environment, and treatments. A model serves as a conceptual framework from which a clinician or scientist can address a problem in an orderly fashion and have some level of confidence in treatment or scientific results.
The purpose of this chapter is to survey several models of pain with particular emphasis on chronic pain. The intention is to present the models from a conceptual viewpoint and then review empirical literature that pertains to each model. Other chapters within this book are directed at specific types of chronic pain conditions. In most cases, more than one of the models described in this chapter may have some application to a given pain condition. We offer these models as conceptual frameworks for cli-