Open Access

A review of perinatal acute pain: treating perinatal pain to reduce adult chronic pain

The Journal of Headache and Pain20067:267

Received: 5 December 2005

Accepted: 16 January 2006

Published: 31 January 2006


Changes in neural connections and activity after an acute insult are hypothesised to contribute to chronic pain syndromes in mature experimental animals and humans. Over the last decade, studies have suggested that exposure to repeated painful procedures during the early perinatal period results in profound changes in sensitivity of nociceptive pathways. Both animal and human studies show that early pain experiences increase pain responses beyond the period of infancy. These data suggest a need to increase implementation of guidelines for minimising pain exposures during infancy. In addition, an experimental perinatal pain model may provide a unique opportunity to study the effects on the nervous system of both painful insults and pre–emptive analgesia.

Key words

CircumcisionMigraineNeural plasticityPerinatal painPre–emptive analgesia