Burn Pain: A Systematic and Critical Review of Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment

Pain Med. 2018 Apr 1;19(4):708-734. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx228.


Objective: This review aims to examine the available literature on the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of burn-induced pain.

Methods: A search was conducted on the epidemiology of burn injury and treatment of burn pain utilizing the database Medline, and all relevant articles were systemically reviewed. In addition, a critical review was performed on the pathophysiology of burn pain and animal models of burn pain.

Results: The search on the epidemiology of burn injury yielded a total of 163 publications of interest, 72 of which fit the inclusion/exclusion criteria, with no publications providing epidemiological data on burn injury pain management outcomes. The search on the treatment of burn pain yielded a total of 213 publications, 14 of which fit the inclusion/exclusion criteria, highlighting the limited amount of evidence available on the treatment of burn-induced pain.

Conclusions: The pathophysiology of burn pain is poorly understood, with limited clinical trials available to assess the effectiveness of analgesics in burn patients. Further studies are needed to identify new pharmacological targets and treatments for the effective management of burn injury pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / complications*
  • Humans
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Management / methods*