Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever and wherever the person says it does
- Margo McCaffery (1938-2018)
What are the Different Types of Pain?
Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.
Nociceptive pain: This describes pain that occurs with a normally functioning nervous system. E.g. falling down and hurting your knee.
Common medications: Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil)
Neuropathic pain: This describes pain that occurs with an abnormally functioning nervous system. E.g. Having a pinched nerve in your back that causes leg pain.
Common medications: Gabapentinoids (e.g. Gabapentin, Lyrica), serotonin norepinephrin reuptake inhibitors (e.g. Duloxteine, Venlafaxine), tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. Amytriptyline, Nortriptyline)
Nociplastic pain: This is a combination of the above two types of pain, arising from changes in how nociceptive pain is interpreted by the nervous system e.g Fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain syndrome.
Talk to your Doctor about what kind of pain you have, and which medication might work best.
What's the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain?
Acute pain usually lasts less than 6 months, whereas chronic pain typically lasts longer.
An example of acute pain is stubbing your toe, and feeling pain for just a few moments, to recovery from a broken bone, where the pain may last several weeks.
Chronic pain is different. It is our bodies’ way to tell us to stay put until everything heals, even if there is no ongoing tissue damage occurring.
Chronic pain can be thought of as a memory, left within the brain and peripheral nervous system, that remains active even if the body has fully healed. There are different ways to deal with chronic pain, and it often requires a comprehensive approach.
Talk to your Doctor about what kind of pain you have, and what approaches might work best.