There are two components to the perception of pain; the 'sensory' and the 'reactive'. Psychological factors control the latter. Pain research is rapidly advancing: the discovery of endorphins and opioid receptors, the appreciation of the psychological component of pain and the multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain are major advances. Pain can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute pain is easy to diagnose, the cause of pain obvious and the treatment logical, chronic pain has a greater psychological component, is difficult to diagnose and treatment is often empirical. Methods of pain control include drugs, injection techniques, electro stimulation, non invasive therapies, denervation procedures and palliative procedures. A multidisciplinary approach and a combination of methods is necessary to treat chronic pain. Spinal opioids, radiofrequency thermocoagulation, intrapleural bupivacaine, cryoanalgesia and patient controlled analgesia are recent advances in pain control. However, most pain can be controlled adequately with simple methods; what is essential is the interest and commitment of the physician towards achieving optimum therapeutics.