Embodied pain: grasping a thorny problem?

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Currently, the generally accepted (IASP) definition of pain,13 published in 1979, emphasizes that pain is an experience and reflects a combination of sensory and affective/emotional elements. However, since 1979, there have been a number of proposed revisions of this definition in light of new knowledge and perspectives. Most recently, Williams and Craig27 endorsed the idea that pain is an experience, but argued that it may now be better described as “a distressing experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage with sensory, emotional, cognitive, and social components” (p. 2420). This proposed definition reflects the evolving evidence of the contribution of psychological and contextual factors to the experience we call pain. Previously, others had proposed putting more emphasis on the motivational aspects of pain. For example, Wall25 wrote of pain as “an awareness of a need state.
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