The instant response to a stubbed toe, a twinge of a strained muscle, or a severe headache is “Ouch!”. But every pain has a backstory – literally and figuratively
But do you know why?
The pain response we take for granted is a complicated and instantaneous chain effect. Basically, it is a signal that travels through your nervous system when your body is hurt in some way, or something else is wrong. It is an offensive feeling such as an ache, burn, tingle, or prick. It might be sharp or dull, intermittent or constant. Pain can help diagnose a problem. However, you need to understand it sufficiently to take further steps. (1)
Types of Pain:
The only difference between physical and emotional pain is that physical pain is perhaps easier to handle! Understanding the different kinds of pain can make it easier for you to talk to your doctor and describe your symptoms. Read on to learn about some of the main types of pain and how they feel…
Acute pain is generally short-lived and intense. It is provoked by illness, injury, or inflammation (2, 3). The most common sources of acute pain are surgery, medical procedure, trauma, labor, or any acute problem state. It performs a vital biological function, in warning us about the potential for or extent of the injury. (4)
Acute pain usually goes away with recovering the underlying injury. But, it’s really important to consider this problem seriously in order to avoid bigger and more severe complications. (4)
Chronic pain is considered to be a disease state. In the United States, about 100 million people are estimated to suffer from chronic pain. There may be an ongoing cause of pain, such as injury, infection, arthritis, or cancer. A pain can be branded as being chronic if it lasts for more than three months. Psychological and environmental factors can make this kind of pain worse. Chronic pain can lead to social withdrawal, disruption of work, depressed mood, irritability, etc. Unfortunately, it can even grow with your age because of having more health issues. Chronic pain is a pain for life – it has the capability to adversely affect your quality of life and productivity. (3, 5, 6, 4, 7)
Although it’s quite difficult to get rid of chronic pain, it has some effective solutions. It is possible to reduce the risk of chronic pain using some pain relievers and alternative therapies such as physical therapy and acupuncture. (6)
Nociceptive pain raises its ugly head with a physical injury involving sensory neurons called nociceptors. The latter is responsible for sending signals to the brain when there is damage caused to the body. Nociceptors are pain receptors found mainly in the skin or joints, or the walls of organs. In short, this kind of pain happens when tissues are injured or by thermal, pressure, or chemical processes. Nociceptive pain can range from sharp, aching, pricking, or burning depending on the responsible stimulus. It can last as long as the noxious stimulation (an actually or potentially tissue damaging event) is maintained.
Nociceptive pain usually affects the arms, legs, and back. Nociceptive pain can either be either somatic or visceral pain.
- Nociceptive somatic pain comes from injury to the skin, soft tissues, muscle, or bone. It can be constant or intermittent and is usually described as an aching pain that becomes sharper with movement.
- Nociceptive visceral pain is basically less well localized as compared to somatic pain. It is constant and often described as squeezing, aching, and cramping. An example of nociceptive visceral pain is the pain arising from liver metastases. (8, 9)
Neuropathic pain originates from an abnormality in processing sensations by the central nervous system (the part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord) or in the peripheral nervous system (the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord). It is usually described as burning, tingling, numbness, freezing, shooting, or sometimes also be a complication of another issue; diabetes, or of therapy with certain drugs; chemotherapy. (8, 10)
Pain does not feel the same for everyone. Describing pain in detail will help your doctor to understand your problem and find the best solution to overcome it. Meanwhile, you can go through our eBook to get proper knowledge about pain and its causes. This will also help you discover the secrets of pain management and how you can win the battle over pain. What’s more, this eBook is completely free! So, hurry up and download now to maintain your good health and reclaim your lifestyle.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- “Pain”. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/pain.html
- Zeller, JL & Burke, AE & Glass, RM. “Acute Pain Treatment.” JAMA. 2008:299(1):128. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/194526
- Grichnik, K. P., and F. M. Ferrante. “The difference between acute and chronic pain.” The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York. 58:3 (1991): 217-220. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1875958
- Berry, Patricia H., et al. “Pain: current understanding of assessment, management, and treatments.” National Pharmaceutical Council and the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, VA, USA. (2001): b44. https://www.npcnow.org/system/files/research/download/Pain-Current-Understanding-of-Assessment-Management-and-Treatments.pdf
- Borsook, David. “A future without chronic pain: neuroscience and clinical research.” Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science. 2012 (2012): 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3574803/
- “Chronic Pain”. https://medlineplus.gov/chronicpain.html
- “Chronic Pain: In Depth”. NIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/chronic.htm
- PAICE, JUDITH A. “Understanding nociceptive pain.” Nursing2019. 32:3 (2002): 74-75. https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2002/03000/Understanding_nociceptive_pain.64.aspx
- “Nociceptive Pain”. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/nociceptive-pain
- Colloca, Luana et al. “Neuropathic pain.” Nature reviews. Disease primers. 3:17002 (2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5371025/