The Understanding of the Concept of Pain

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There are several definitions of pain as an overall concept; there are also various types of pain concepts. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) currently defines pain as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage’ (Raja et al., 2020, p.1). However, additional research identified a need for an advanced understanding of pain. According to Raja et al. (2020), the current definition requires revision, as it heavily implies that pain is associated only with tissue damage, when in fact, pain could resemble an experience associated with tissue damage.

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In all cases of pain, each of the following attributes is present:

  1. The person experiences a feeling of sensation that hurts his body or mind.
  2. The individual expresses verbal or behavioral reactions to the component of the sensation.
  3. The person’s indicated feeling is subjective and personal and could be undistinguished if the person decides to hide his pain.
  4. The person’s feelings could be described as a stressful experience and extend to the point of confusing the individual’s thoughts.
  5. The person experiences pleasure after the pain relief.

Ms. B is a 54-year-old female who was diagnosed with a herniated disk. Ms. B. is currently living with her daughter and grandchildren. When Ms. B. first went to the doctor, she complained about pain in her back. Ms. B. was hunching in a protective pose that allowed her slight ease from the pain. Ms. B. stated that she has difficulties in straightening up as sometimes after that, she feels a painful sensation that goes down from her lower back to the leg.

Borderline Case: In the process of consultation with a urologist, a 30-year-old man fails to recognize the pain, as he perceives the pain as a slight discomfort. When the physician asks him if he feels pain in a particular area in the process of examination, he winces and tries to protect the area with his hands but proceeds to call the pain discomfort.

Contrary Case: A 32-year-old woman complains of eye twitching and emphasizes that the twitching prevents her from working. The case is different from the concept and emphasizes the defining attributes.

Invented Case: As invented cases contain ideas outside our own experience, one might suggest that there could be a type of human species somewhere In space with an inverted system of neurons that confuses pain and pleasure.

Illegitimate case: According to Walker and Avant (2011), illegitimate cases present an example of the term and the concept used out of context or improperly. For example, the term pain could be illegitimately used to depict the damage to an inanimate object.

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Related Cases: Related cases include cases where separate concepts relate to the studied concept but include different defining attributes. In this analysis, the related cases that fit the criterion include the concepts of Discomfort and Suffering.

Empirical Referents of pain include increased heart rate, verbalization of pain, and behavioral signals like crying and restlessness.

There are two significant types of antecedents of pain; the first one implies environmental triggers of an event in which the individual experiences tissue damage or a feeling resembling it. The personal antecedents include individuals’ actions or lack of action that cause pain. The consequences of the pain mainly consist of the individual’s physical and psychological reactions to the pain.

In my understanding, concept analysis is vital for the examination of the concepts’ characteristics and attributes. The concept analysis allows nursing scholars to distinguish defining attributes from irrelevant attributes. As Walker and Avant (2011) emphasized, the primary advantage of concept analysis is that it synthesizes both theoretical and operational definitions. As borders of definitions of the terms become blurred over time for medical staff, the concept analysis could be utilized to refresh existing knowledge.


Raja, S. N., Carr, D. B., Cohen, M., Finnerup, N. B., Flor, H., Gibson, S., Keefe, F. J., Mogil, J. S., Ringkamp, M., Sluka, K. A., Song, X. J., Stevens, B., Sullivan, M. D., Tutelman, P. R., Ushida, T., & Vader, K. (2020). The revised International Association for the Study of Pain definition of pain: concepts, challenges, and compromises. Pain, 161(9), 1976–1982. Web.

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Walker, L. O., Avant, K. C. (2011). Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing. Prentice Hall.

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"The Understanding of the Concept of Pain." NursingBird, 1 Nov. 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'The Understanding of the Concept of Pain'. 1 November.


NursingBird. 2022. "The Understanding of the Concept of Pain." November 1, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "The Understanding of the Concept of Pain." November 1, 2022.


NursingBird. "The Understanding of the Concept of Pain." November 1, 2022.