The different types of pain explained

The different types of pain explained

When you look back over your life, there’s a difference between events and your reactions to them. Take something like a traffic accident. You can walk away but still feel nervous about getting back behind the wheel. But if you are physically injured, the consequences can have an effect for on you the rest of your life. The extent of that effect is up to you. Some people react well when things do not go their way. They set about rebuilding their lives and, within the new realities, make the best of things. Others give up. If they are in pain, they grow depressed and slowly stop moving around. Their fear of the pain can turn them into bedridden patients who never see the light of day again.

The different types of pain

So what is this thing called pain and why does it have such a potentially devastating effect on some people? In simple terms, pain is nothing more than a message sent by one part of the body to the brain warning that something is wrong. It can be a physical injury or a disease. If the pain is only temporary, it’s called acute. This is easier to bear because you can stay optimistic for longer when you know your body will heal. But pain that is going to last for a long time is called chronic. Because it persists, this type of pain becomes an illness or disorder in its own right. Consequently, the medical profession is formally building up expertise in pain management as a separate speciality. For these purposes, pain is classified as follows:

(a) nociceptive:

here the pain is localized. It’s said to be somatic when felt in the bones, joints, bones, ligaments and muscles. It’s visceral when felt in internal organs — this can be more difficult to pinpoint. You register pain in the kidney, liver, lungs or heart as simply coming from inside the body. The place on the outside of the body does not necessarily match the organ affected.

(b) non-nociceptive is often neuropathic.

This means the nervous system tells you there’s a problem but does not tie it to a specific location. If the nervous system is damaged, it gets even more difficult to know where the problem is. The brain grows increasingly confused by what seem like random sensations like numbness, tingling and other unpleasant symptoms. Even more confusing is sympathetic pain. This happens where an injury in one part of the body shows itself as a pain in a different part.

Fortunately, it does not matter how doctors classify pain. Most people find tramadol to be an effective way of getting relief.

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