BACKGROUND The mechanisms of adaptation to tonic pain are not elucidated. We hypothesized that the adaptability to tonic pain is related to the cardiovascular system. METHODS Twenty-six subjects received over two sessions in a random order: tonic cold (7 ± 0.2 °C) and heat pain (47.5 ± 0.5 °C) on the hand for 5 min. Pain intensity, blood pressure (BP), and heart rate (HR) were continuously monitored. RESULTS Pain experience during the heat (HIT) and cold (CIT) immersion tests exhibited different average time courses, being approximated with a linear and cubic function, respectively. In each test, two groups of participants could be identified based on the time course of their tonic thermal pain: one-third of participants were pain adaptive and two-thirds non adaptive. The adaptive group exhibited higher initial pain, lower last pain, and shorter latency to peak pain than the non-adaptive one. Interestingly, some participants were adaptive to both pain stimuli, most were not. HIT as well as CIT produced a stable elevation of BP. However, BP was higher during CIT than HIT (p = 0.034). HR was also increased during CIT and HIT, but the two tests differed with respect to the time course of responses. Finally, the intensity and time course of pain rating to both HIT and CIT correlated with neither BP nor HR responses. CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that individual sensitivity and adaptability to tonic thermal pain is related to the intensity of initial pain rating and the latency to peak pain but not to cardiovascular responses.