The basal ganglia (BG) are composed of several nuclei involved in neural processing related to the execution of motor, cognitive and emotional activities. Preclinical and clinical data have implicated a role for these structures in pain processing. Recently neuroimaging has added important information on BG activation in conditions of acute pain, chronic pain and as a result of drug effects. Our current understanding of alterations in cortical and sub-cortical regions in pain suggests that the BG are uniquely involved in thalamo-cortico-BG loops to integrate many aspects of pain. These include the integration of motor, emotional, autonomic and cognitive responses to pain.