Pain provides the body with a protective mechanism, alerting it to potential or actual damage to the body’s tissues. In the example of a bee sting, the pain receptors in the skin detect tissue damage from the bee sting. Then, the peripheral nerves send a pain signal to the brain. The brain analyzes the pain signal. In turn, the brain delivers a message back to the muscles of the arm to react.
Update Date 11/10/2012
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.