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The History of Pain 

The History of Pain
The History of Pain
Pain: Dynamics and Complexities

Daniel M. Doleys


The history of pain begins with the Egyptians and Babylonians and includes treatments like bleeding, trepanning, and use of ‘electric fish commensurate with the view demons as the source. Changes brought about by Judaism, the Greeks, Aristotle and Plato are described. The 5th-19th centuries witnessed the contribution of Christian Church, St. Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, Renee Descartes, William Harvey, and Isaac Newton The introduction of materialism and reduction as the foundation of science emerged. Even English literature contributed an evolving notion of pain. The clinical use of opium and the discovery of anesthetics influenced changes in manner in which pain was treated. Specificity theory, intensity theory, and the observations of Weir Mitchell on nerve related pain and Henry Beecher on the role of emotional factors begin to reshape the concept of pain and its management. Finally the Gate Control theory of pain and the birth of International Association for the Study of Pain mark the modern era. The appreciation of pain as a disease seems to marking the next advancement in the conceptualization of pain.

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