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Special Communication
November 12, 2003

A Capsule History of Pain Management

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of History, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 2003;290(18):2470-2475. doi:10.1001/jama.290.18.2470

Pain is a complex clinical problem. Assessment depends on verbal report, and the patient's physical perceptions may be modified by cognitive and affective factors. The salience of pain as a problem in its own right has grown since 1945 and new therapeutic alternatives have developed from research and from new theoretical perspectives. This short historical review of the highlights of the history of pain management gives particular emphasis to the 20th century and to chronic and cancer pain.