What are the Types of Pain

What are the Types of Pain

Types of Pain

According to experts, there are two well-recognized categories of pain. The two categories of pain are broad, and they include the pain of damage (sensical type) and system perception pain (how the body interprets damage). This is the difference between having engine trouble and problems with the light on your dashboard that alerts you to engine trouble. Called nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain, there are many types of pain that fall into these categories.

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain arises from problems with tissues and how pain is reported to the brain by the nervous system. This pain is the most common, and it can occur from bee stings, toe stubs, or strain injury. Nociceptive pain usually improves with time, movement, load, or position. This type of pain represents a normal response to injury or insult of tissues.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain arises from damage to the nervous system, whether it is central or peripheral, wither from injury, compression (pinching), or disease. The simplest neuropathies are from a mechanical insult, such as hitting the elbow or sciatica. Damage to the neurons (nerve cells) from certain conditions can occur from disease (multiple sclerosis), or from chemotherapy, diabetes, or alcohol. This type of pain is a burning, stabbing, searing sensation that is often difficult to treat.

Inflammatory Pain

Inflammatory pain is the result of activation and sensitization of the nociceptive pain pathway by certain mediators, which are released at the sites of tissue inflammation. These mediators have been implicated as key players, and are proinflammatory cytokines, such as Interleukin-1-alpha, IL-1-beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. In addition, examples of inflammatory pain include rheumatoid arthritis, appendicitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Psychogenic Pain

Also called psychalgia, or somatoform pain, psychogenic pain is a type of pain related to mental, behavioral, or emotional factors. Many times, headache and stomach pain are diagnosed as psychogenic. People with long-term pain can display psychological disturbance, with elevated scores on many depression, anxiety, and hysteria inventory scales. When long-term pain is relieved by therapeutic intervention, scores on certain psychological tests lower or normalized.

Breakthrough Pain

This type of pain was coined during early days of cancer treatment. Breakthrough pain is a transitory acute pain that comes on rapidly and is not alleviated by medications or regular therapy. It is common for patients who have a history of pain before their cancer diagnosis and refers to pain that “breaks through” the medication, occurring before the next dose is due.

Pain System Dysfunction

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is not easy to understand. The pain associated with fibromyalgia doesn’t fit into either type of pain, neuropathic or nociceptive. Fibromyalgia is often related to pain system dysfunction and is poorly understood. Dysfunction means that fibromyalgia is not caused by damage to the nervous system, but rather, by the misbehavior of the nervous system. Therefore, fibromyalgia pain is classified as an “other” type of pain.

Sensitization and Centralization

Sensitization is the amplification of danger signaling in a portion of a system. It can be driven by both central and peripheral nerves. Centralization is the term used to refer to problems with the central nervous system. The nervous system may not be dysfunctional, but it could overestimate danger. Many of us experience healthy centralized sensitization. Our brains can cause the pain perception to feel greater than it once did. Sensitization is part of a normal function of our pain systems.

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