It may be the fiery sensation of a burn moments after our finger touches the stove. Or it's a dull ache above our brow after a day of stress and tension. Or we may recognize it as a sharp pierce in our back after we lift something heavy. It is pain. In its most benign form, it warns us that something isn't quite right, that we should take medicine or see a doctor. At its worst, however, pain robs us of our productivity, our well-being, and, for many of us suffering from extended illness, our very lives. Pain is a complex perception that differs enormously among individual patients, even those who appear to have identical injuries or illnesses. Presumably, pain sensation has evolved to protect our bodies from harm by causing us to perform certain actions and avoid others. Pain might be called a protector, a predictor, or simply a hassle. Through this course, we will discuss various concepts of pain management. We all experience pain to greater or lesser degrees at various points of our lives. It is said that pain is the most common reason patients seek medical attention. But, each of us perceives a given pain stimulus in our own unique manner. The intensity of the response to a pain stimulus is largely subjective; meaning the severity of the pain can most accurately be defined by the person with the pain, rather than by other observers. Our individual pain perception can vary at different times, even in response to the identical stimulus. For example, an athlete during competition may not be able to feel the tissue injury of a cut or a bruise until the competition has finished. We may feel more or less pain depending on our mood; sleep pattern, hunger, or activity.