Relieving pain, especially during surgery; considered a science in itself.
Methods of relieving pain were first developed in connection with surgery many thousands of years ago in Assyria, Egypt, China, India and other countries. Most ancient anodynes were extracted from herbs, roots and leaves and included opiates and fermented produces with alcoholic content. In Egyptian medicine, entire garlic cloves inserted in the rectum were said to relieve pain, and according to ancient Chinese medicine, needles inserted in certain places in the body alleviated pain.
Pain can be caused by treatments and by advancing disease that is not amenable to treatment. It is therefore important to treat pain whenever it occurs, even while trying to determine what has caused it.