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Editorial |

Pain Management

Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2003;290(18):2480-2481. doi:10.1001/jama.290.18.2480.
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One of the greatest treasures in The Vatican Museum is the Laocoōn, a sculpture from 25 BC of the Trojan priest Laocoōn and his 2 sons depicting his mighty but futile struggle with sea snakes.1 The writhing figure and facial expression of Laocoōn is the epitome of physiognomic pain (see Patient Page). Anyone who has ever experienced pain can immediately identify with the agony depicted.

Pain is an ageless, universal phenomenon, the history of which is briefly described in this issue of THE JOURNAL by Meldrum.2 It is safe to assume that humankind has been trying to understand and treat pain since the beginning of human existence. To wit, the articles published in this theme issue of THE JOURNAL were selected from more than 150 papers submitted in response to the call for papers in November 2002.3 These articles cover several methods of treating pain, but, as important, they point out the necessity for greater awareness of pain as a symptom by clinicians and the need for further research to understand the mechanisms of pain more completely and to find more effective methods of managing pain.

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