Pain Awareness Month: 6 Types of Chronic Pain to Know

Pain Management Sep 17, 2019

September is Pain Awareness Month and we’re sharing the most common types of chronic pain you should know. Better understanding these specific types will allow you to find the right treatment if you or a loved one is suffering from pain.

Pain is not something people wish for. It is unpleasant and can affect your physical and emotional well-being. Each person will experience pain in their own unique way. Some experience acute pain, or pain that last for a short period and then goes away.

Bee stings, sprained ankles, and even broken bones are examples of acute pain, if the pain leaves within a few days or months. If the pain does not leave, it can be considered chronic pain.

Chronic pain continues even if your injury or disease has healed. It signals that the nerves are not realizing the body has healed and they keep sending pain messages to your brain, which then tells your body to hurt.


What Are the Types of Chronic Pain?

It has been reported that 50 million Americans experience chronic pain. This does not include statistics on children with pain, or adults who do not report their pain.

One way to help those suffering from chronic pain is by educating everyone on the types and symptoms of chronic pain. Bringing awareness to the serious nature of chronic pain can also help people find the right help.

Education is knowledge and knowledge is power.

Below are six types of chronic pain to know that can be treated by a pain management specialist.


1. Nociceptive Pain

Muscles, skin and some organs have sensory nerves. These sensory nerves are called nociceptors and they recognize the stimuli that causes the feeling of pain. They send a message to the brain, which will identify the nociceptive pain.

For instance, headaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia are types of nociceptive pain.

When you injure a part of the body, or have a disease in parts of your body, the nerves associated with those parts can be triggered by pain. This becomes chronic when your pain continues for six months or longer.


2. Somatic Pain

Somatic pain is a type of nociceptive pain that is also detected in areas where there are sensory nerves. The key to understanding somatic pain is knowing the source is mostly within the muscles and skin of the body.

Somatic pain can occur when you injure your body in some way. You may tear a ligament, strain a muscle or break a bone. All of these can lead to chronic pain that would be considered somatic.

Headaches caused by tension are another example of somatic pain, as well as back pain that is nerve related, arthritis, and from areas in which the joints are unstable.


3. Visceral Pain

Visceral pain is another type of nociceptive pain. The difference, this pain is found mostly in the internal organs of the body that are near sensory nerves.

Locating the source of visceral pain can be harder to do than with somatic pain. This is because visceral pain can create pain in an area away from the actual pain source. The stomach is a visceral organ that can have visceral pain.

Examples of visceral pain include endometriosis and prostate pain. Also, digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome.


4. Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is like nociceptive pain in that they both relate to your nerves. But while nociceptive pain is caused by the nerves detecting painful stimuli, neuropathic pain is caused by a disturbance with the nerve itself.

The peripheral and central nervous systems are filled with nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain. If either system is damaged, this may create neuropathic pain. Meaning, the damaged nerves will continually send pain messages to your brain, which are then transmitted to your body.

If you have ever felt a sharp, shooting pain, or felt like you were being stabbed with pain, this is considered neuropathic pain. When this happens, your nerves have been irritated or damaged, sending an unexpected pain signal.

An example of neuropathic pain includes phantom pains among those who have had an amputation, including limbs or mastectomy. Other examples include the pain associated with diabetes and sciatica.


5. Psychogenic Pain

If you have ever experienced a mental health disorder, you know that symptoms of disorders such as depression and anxiety can be devastating to the way you think, feel and act.

What you may not know is that mental health disorders can also be a source of pain. Mental health disorders can have physical symptoms. Some report feeling general aches and pains. Others report fatigue, headaches, and joint pain.

Treating psychogenic pain can be more difficult to treat than nerve related pains. However, TENS and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation have been shown to help.


6. Idiopathic Pain

When no source of your pain can be identified, it may be classified as idiopathic. This does not mean it is not real, though. In fact, idiopathic pain is very real.

And it usually appears in those who have already been diagnosed with another type of pain disorder, like fibromyalgia.

While it can be hard to treat idiopathic pain, there are methods your pain management specialist can try.


Other Types of Chronic Pain

There are still a few types of pains not yet mentioned.

  • Central pain syndrome occurs when the central nervous system is damaged. Strokes, and MS are sometimes a cause of this syndrome.
  • Complex regional pain syndrome usually follows an injury and a burning sensation is often associated with it.
  • Shingles is caused by a virus and is considered very painful.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia is a pain in the facial area, including lips, forehead, cheeks and chin that are caused by inflammation of the nerves.


Getting Treatment

The first step towards pain relief is to make an appointment with a pain management specialist. They can give you an accurate diagnosis and match the right treatment for your needs.

Depending on your pain source, treatments can include medications, steroidal injections, nerve stimulation, infusion techniques, biofeedback, and physical therapy. Incorporating massage and other alternative therapies may also be recommended.

If you are experiencing any source of chronic pain, reach out for help today.


Managing Different Types of Chronic Pain - Comprehensive Pain Management Center


Common Questions About Pain

What is Pain Awareness Month?

September is pain awareness month where we come together to raise awareness of pain and the issues surrounding it.

How Common is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain affects roughly 50 million Americans, not including statistics of children, or adults who have not reported their pain.

Are There Different Pain Experiences?

Yes, there are different types of pain: acute pain is pain that lasts for a short period of time before it recedes. Chronic pain continues even after your injury or disease has healed.

What Are the Different Types of Chronic Pain?

The main types of chronic pain that can be treated for at a clinic include: nociceptive pain, somatic pain, visceral pain, neuropathic pain, psychogenic pain, idiopathic pain, and more.



Read More:

Pain Awareness Month: Common Conditions and Treatments to Know

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