Human experimental pain models require standardized stimulation and quantitative assessment of the evoked responses. This approach can be applied to healthy volunteers and pain patients before and after pharmacological interventions. Standardized stimuli of different modalities (ie, mechanical, chemical, thermal or electrical) can be applied to the skin, muscles and viscera for a differentiated and comprehensive assessment of various pain pathways and mechanisms. Using a multi-modal, multi-tissue approach, new and existing analgesic drugs can be profiled by their modulation of specific biomarkers. It has been shown that biomarkers, for example, those related to the central integration of repetitive nociceptive stimuli, can predict efficacy of a given drug in neuropathic pain conditions. Human experimental pain models can bridge animal and clinical pain research, and act as translational research providing new possibilities for designing successful clinical trials. Proof-of-concept studies provide cheap, fast and reliable information on dose-efficacy relationships and how pain sensed in the skin, muscles and viscera are inhibited.