Open Accessibility Menu

Managing Pain: Types of pain

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:

We have all lived with pain at some point in our lives. It is commonly accepted that everyone experiences pain differently. Pain can be caused by many different factors. It is complex and differs from person to person.

When pain - whether acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) - causes you to seek care, your healthcare provider may describe your pain in different ways depending on how it is impacting your health.

Mechanical pain can be acute or chronic. It is the general term that refers to any type of back pain caused by placing abnormal stress and strain on muscles. Typically, mechanical pain is a result of bad habits, such as poor posture, poorly-designed seating, and incorrect bending and lifting motions.

When experiencing mechanical pain, there are steps people can take to change the habits that cause this pain. This can include maintaining proper posture, using proper lifting and bending techniques, as well as the use of ergonomic chairs to alleviate back pain. If the pain continues, the pain may not be due to mechanical pain, indicating a more serious underlying back problem.

Myofascial Pain can be acute or chronic. It refers to muscle pain and tenderness.

Neuropathic pain is a form of chronic pain. It is due to damage to the nerves or other parts of the nervous system. It is often described as shooting, stabbing, or burning pain, or it feels like pins and needles. It can also affect sensitivity to touch and can make someone have difficulty feeling hot or cold sensations.

Neuropathic pain is a common type of chronic pain. It may come and go, and it can be so severe that it makes performing everyday tasks difficult. Because the pain can interfere with normal movement, it can also lead to mobility issues.

Nociceptive pain is a form of acute pain. It is a type of pain caused by damage to body tissue. People often describe it as being a sharp, achy, or throbbing pain. It’s often caused by an external injury. For example, if you hit your elbow, stub your toe, twist your ankle, or fall and scrape up your knee, you may feel nociceptive pain. This type of pain is often experienced in the joints, muscles, skin, tendons, and bones. It can be both acute and chronic.

Radicular pain is most commonly related with chronic pain. It is a very specific type of pain can occur when the spinal nerve gets compressed or inflamed. It radiates from the back and hip into the leg(s) by way of the spine and spinal nerve root. People who have radicular pain may experience tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.

Pain that radiates from the back and into the leg is called radiculopathy. It’s commonly known as sciatica because the pain is due to the sciatic nerve being affected. This type of pain is often steady, and people can feel it deep in the leg. Walking, sitting, and some other activities can make sciatica worse. It is one of the most common forms of radicular pain.

Inflammatory Pain is chronic pain that may exhibit itself as acute episodes. It is an abnormal inflammation caused by an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system. Conditions in this category include gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

Functional Pain is chronic pain that can be episodic or continuous pain. It is pain without obvious origin, but can cause pain. Examples of such conditions are fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Understanding the differences between the types of pain we experience, is the first step in addressing the different causes of pain. Once we understand how our body processes pain, we are able to work with healthcare providers to find safe and effective treatments.

This information is provided by Mile Bluff’s Opioid Stewardship committee. Opioid stewardship is a coordinated program that identifies and uses the best practices to optimize the appropriate use of opioid medications while minimizing the negative impact opioids can have on a patient.

Public education is part of an opioid stewardship program. Throughout the year, we will be sharing information about our stewardship efforts and how we all can do our part to impact the opioid epidemic in our country.