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.
Review Date 10/27/2014
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.