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Pain, the types of pain, and how Healand can help alleviate pain

Updated: Apr 25

Pain and the treatment of pain is one of the specialities of Healand Clinic. Our fully qualified clinicians have a range of treatments available to them, designed to alleviate pain permanently or temporarily. You can find our full range of pain treatments here.

Pain is a subjective and unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. It is often described as a distressing or uncomfortable feeling that serves as a protective mechanism, alerting us to potential harm or injury. Pain can vary in intensity, duration, and quality depending on the underlying cause and individual perception.

Pain can be classified into two main categories: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is typically short-lived and occurs as a direct result of injury, surgery, or illness. It serves as a warning sign that something is wrong and typically resolves as the underlying cause heals.

On the other hand, chronic pain persists beyond the expected healing time and may be caused by conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage, or persistent inflammation. Chronic pain can significantly impact a person's quality of life and may require ongoing management.

Pain perception involves a complex interaction between the nervous system and the brain. When tissue damage or injury occurs, specialized nerve receptors called nociceptors detect and transmit pain signals to the spinal cord and brain. The brain then processes these signals, integrating them with other sensory information and emotional factors to create the experience of pain.

It's important to note that pain is a subjective experience and can vary from person to person. Different individuals may have different pain thresholds and pain tolerance levels, meaning they can perceive and respond to pain differently. Healthcare professionals often use various assessment tools and scales to evaluate and measure pain, considering both the physical and emotional aspects of the experience.

Treating pain usually involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause, as well as managing the pain itself. This can include medications, physical therapy, psychological interventions, and complementary approaches such as acupuncture or relaxation techniques. The goal of pain management is to reduce or alleviate pain, improve functionality, and enhance the overall well-being of the individual experiencing it.

Types of pain

Pain can be classified into different types based on various factors, including its underlying cause, duration, and location. Here are some common types of pain:

Nociceptive pain

This type of pain occurs when specialized nerve receptors called nociceptors detect tissue damage or injury. Nociceptive pain can be further divided into two subtypes:

  • Somatic pain

This pain arises from the skin, muscles, joints, bones, or connective tissues. It is often described as a sharp, localized, and well-defined pain. Examples include cuts, fractures, sprains, and arthritis.

  • Visceral pain

Visceral pain originates from the internal organs, such as the abdomen or chest. It is often described as a deep, dull, or cramping pain that may be difficult to localize. Conditions like appendicitis, kidney stones, or gastrointestinal disorders can cause visceral pain.

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain results from damage or dysfunction of the nerves themselves. It is often described as a burning, shooting, or electric shock-like pain. Neuropathic pain can be caused by conditions like nerve compression, diabetes, shingles (postherpetic neuralgia), or conditions such as peripheral neuropathy or trigeminal neuralgia.

Radicular pain

Radicular pain is caused by compression or irritation of a spinal nerve root, often due to a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. It typically radiates along the path of the affected nerve, such as down the leg or arm, and is often accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness.

Referred pain

Referred pain is felt in an area distant from the actual source of the problem. For example, pain felt in the left arm during a heart attack is a form of referred pain. The internal organs and musculoskeletal system can both cause referred pain.

Phantom pain

Phantom pain is experienced in a part of the body that has been amputated. Despite the absence of the limb or body part, individuals may still feel pain, tingling, or other sensations. The exact causes of phantom pain are not fully understood, but it is believed to involve changes in the central nervous system.

Psychogenic pain

Psychogenic pain is pain that is not attributable to a specific physical cause but has a psychological origin. It can be influenced by emotional or psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, or stress.

It's important to note that these categories are not always mutually exclusive, and some individuals may experience pain that falls into multiple categories. If you are experiencing pain of one or more of these types, proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional is crucial. This will help to determine the specific type of pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

If you would like to book a consultation at Healand Clinic to discuss any pain that you are experiencing and the steps we could take to alleviate it, please contact us using the booking form below:


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