What are the Main Types of Pain?

It is essential to find out the type of pain you have because it can affect the form of treatment you require. During your first visit, Dr. Clement Yeh will determine the type of pain that is affecting you so that you can receive the right treatment plan.

While pain experiences vary from one person to another, it’s possible to group the different pain types. The following are the main types of pain:

  1.     Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain occurs when nociceptors around the body sense harmful stimuli. Nociceptors are receptors that exist to detect any pain that is potentially caused by mechanical, physical, chemical, or thermal damage to body tissues.

Some of the injuries that can lead to nociceptive pain are bruises, fractures, overuse damage, burns, sprains, and joint damage. When triggered by stimuli, the nociceptors tell the brain about the damage with electrical signals transmitted through the peripheral and central nervous system. Once the signals reach the brain, you perceive the pain you’re feeling.

  1.     Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain results from damage to a nerve. The injured nerve starts to transmit signals to the spinal cord which are then passed over to the brain, resulting in a feeling of pain. Since nerve damage doesn’t heal, neuropathic pain is persistent and you might occasionally experience abrupt severe pain attacks.

Other than nerve damage, neuropathic pain can be caused by a malfunction in the nervous system which is frequently seen in diabetic patients. Defective nerve tracts in the brain or spine can also cause this type of pain. Peripheral neuropathy, post-mastectomy pain, and sciatica are some examples of neuropathic pain.

  1.     Visceral Pain

Inflammation of internal organs in the abdomen, pelvis, or chest causes visceral pain. The inflammation damages the tissues and causes them to release a variety of substances that stimulate the nociceptors. After that, the pain receptors transmit electrical impulses to the brain via the nerves and spinal cord, causing you to feel pain.

Examples of visceral pain are prostate pain, endometriosis, pain in the bladder, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  1.     Vascular Pain

Interruption of blood circulation to body tissues, organs, or nerves leads to vascular pain. The affected part may also display symptoms of numbness, a tingling sensation, or weakness. Some of the common culprits of vascular pain are diabetes, atherosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, ischemia, varicose veins, circulatory issues, and peripheral vascular disease.

  1.     Cancer Pain

Cancer that invades tissues or nerves can damage the tissue, causing it to produce substances that activate the nociceptors. The receptors will then send signals to the brain through the nervous system and spinal cord, leading to a sensation of pain.

Pain from cancer may involve both nociceptive and neuropathic pain because cancer can damage both tissues and nerves.

  1.     Psychogenic Pain

Pain triggered by a psychological disorder like depression is known as psychogenic pain. Many psychological disorders come with fatigue, muscle aches, pain, and other physical complications.

Psychogenic pain doesn’t typically have a physical cause, so it is harder to treat compared to nociceptive and neuropathic pain. It requires different treatment techniques which include psychological medications, distraction, counseling, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and relaxation.

Pain may also be divided into acute and chronic. Acute pain heals gradually within three to six months while chronic pain lasts for a longer amount of time.