Mathematical and Computational Models for Pain: A Systematic Review
Review article, 2021

Objective. There is no single prevailing theory of pain that explains its origin, qualities, and alleviation. Although many studies have investigated various molecular targets for pain management, few have attempted to examine the etiology or working mechanisms of pain through mathematical or computational model development. In this systematic review, we identified and classified mathematical and computational models for characterizing pain. Methods. The databases queried were Science Direct and PubMed, yielding 560 articles published prior to January 1st, 2020. After screening for inclusion of mathematical or computational models of pain, 31 articles were deemed relevant. Results. Most of the reviewed articles utilized classification algorithms to categorize pain and no-pain conditions. We found the literature heavily focused on the application of existing models or machine learning algorithms to identify the presence or absence of pain, rather than to explore features of pain that may be used for diagnostics and treatment. Conclusions. Although understudied, the development of mathematical models may augment the current understanding of pain by providing directions for testable hypotheses of its underlying mechanisms. Additional focus is needed on developing models that seek to understand the underlying mechanisms of pain, as this could potentially lead to major breakthroughs in its treatment.

Mathematical Model

Computational Biology

Pain Model

Pain Mechanism


Victoria Ashley Lang

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Signal Processing and Biomedical Engineering

Torbjörn Lundh

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

University of Gothenburg

Max Jair Ortiz Catalan

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Systems and control

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

University of Gothenburg

Pain Medicine

1526-2375 (ISSN) 1526-4637 (eISSN)

Vol. 22 12 2806-2817

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Subject Categories

Other Computer and Information Science

Bioinformatics (Computational Biology)

Computer Systems

Areas of Advance

Health Engineering





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2/8/2022 3