Americans consume a largeย majority of the worldโ€™s opioids. Approximately 80% of the global opioid supply is consumed in the United States, a country that represents a mere 5% of the global population. There were approximately 300 million pain prescriptions written in the US in 2015 equating to a $24 billion market. While we seem to know a fair amount about pain from the financial side, the actual science behind pain is still somewhat of an enigma. Let's take a closer lookย at pain science.

What is pain and where does it come from? Pain is an output from the brain, it is a real experience that is always unique to that individual, and is dependent on meaning, which is always context-dependent. It relies on biology, ecology, psychology, and sociology! Furthermore, the output of pain depends on past experiences, perspectives, the internal and external environment, emotions, and predictions. Even though it is an output from the brain, pain can be experienced anywhere in the body regardless of the presence or absence of tissue or structural damage. But is pain really all your head then? In this article, we will break down this simple yet complex question to help you better understand where pain comes from as well as pain science!

Pain is a qualia and an enigma; itโ€™s a sensation that is routinely described yet not fully understood. The mystery lies in that pain is an experience felt by almost all individuals at some point in their lives, however, the experience of this universal sensation remains individualized and unique to that person. What is pain? Why do we have pain? How far has pain science research come? Is pain a good or a bad thing? Can we combat the high and rising rates of chronic pain and the opioid epidemic? Find out in this series of articles!

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