Traditionally, physicians have had only blunt tools for combating pain.
Aspirin and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and more potent medications—namely
opioids—have offered fairly generalized pain relief for many sufferers,
but may have adverse effects.
Now, scientists are working hard to pinpoint more precise targets for
pain therapy. The goal is to understand pain at a molecular level so that
they can develop treatments aimed at specific molecules in pain pathways that
relieve pain without causing adverse effects.
Hampton T. Researchers Probe Pathways of Pain. JAMA. 2003;290(18):2391-2392. doi:10.1001/jama.290.18.2391