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Pain Research and Management
Volume 11, Suppl A, Pages 11A-15A
Neuropathic Pain and Gabapentinoids

Can We Distinguish between Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain?

Gary J Bennett

Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Dentistry, and Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammatory and neuropathic pain were once considered to be distinct entities. However, research over the past decade or so has brought to light many shared mechanisms, and the distinction between the two is no longer clear. Consideration of mechanisms, symptoms and the effects of analgesic drugs does not reveal any definitive or universally applicable differentiating factors. Given the present level of understanding, it may not be possible to distinguish between inflammatory and neuropathic pain in a large number of patients, and a satisfying definition of neuropathic pain may not be possible.