Parts of the nervous system are dedicated to transmit and process pain-related information in order to protect the body from potentially harmful stimuli. This nociceptive system is a powerful model system for studying the properties of the nervous system in health and disease from the molecular to the systemic and the behavioral levels.
Virtually all state-of-the-art technologies of modern life sciences are presently employed in pain research. It is an advantageous feature of the complex nociceptive system that it has well-defined input and output pathways. This makes it much easier to study.
Nociceptive afferents can be stimulated selectively and nociceptive output parameters can be assessed quantitatively with high precision. By virtue of its nature, pain research creates an interdisciplinary link between neurobiologists, psychologists, physiologists and pain therapists, to name but a few examples. Since pain is a major personal, medical and social burden, justification of practice has never been a problem for pain research.