Taxonomy of pain stimuli and associated examples

Pain StimulusDefinitionExamples
Acute noxious stimulusAble to produce tissue damageThermal-radiant heat
Inflammatory ± evocative acute stimulusaActivates or mimics local or systemic inflammatory  processesCFA Carrageenan
Surgical Incision
Neuropathic ± evocative acute stimulusaDamages peripheral sensory neurons or central neuronsNerve ligation or constriction
Disease state ± evocative acute stimulusaDiabetes (e.g., streptozocin treatment)
Bone cancer (e.g., cancer cell injection to bone marrow)
Migraine (e.g., glycerol trinitrate injection)
Natural disease (e.g., arthritis in companion animals)
  • a Models of inflammatory, neuropathic, or disease-state pain often involve two stimuli: one to produce a relatively sustained state of inflammation, neuropathy, or disease-like pathology, and a second acute stimulus. The second stimulus is usually thermal or mechanical in modality and may range from innocuous to noxious in intensity. In subjects with inflammation/neuropathy/disease, the second acute stimulus may elicit pain behavior suggestive of “allodynia” (pain response to a normally innocuous stimulus) or “hyperalgesia” (hyperactive response to a normally noxious stimulus).