Types of Pain: Classification and Treatments

Types of Pain: Classification and Treatments

Published: July 1, 2021

We have all experienced pain. Whether it’s an ache, a stinging sensation, throbbing, soreness, or burning, pain can be mild to quite excruciating. To manage pain, you need to diagnose it so that you can develop a treatment plan.

As such, it’s therefore essential to recognize the common types of pain as well as the best pain management options, because there’s no standard approach to all.

Types of Pain

Medically speaking, pain is generally an uncomfortable or unpleasant sensation in the body that often signals an illness or injury.

While there are many different types of pain, we’ll only discuss the four most common types of pain in this article. 

Acute Pain

Acute pain lasts for less than six months (i.e., minutes, hours, a few days, or months) and is often caused by a specific injury or event, such as:

  • Surgery
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts or burns
  • Dental work
  • Labor and childbirth

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is pain that has lasted for over six months and is frequently felt. It can also persist for years and ranges from mild to severe on any particular day. Chronic pain is often a result of health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, circulation problems, back pain, and headache.

Without proper medication, chronic pain can affect one’s quality of life, at times even leading to depression or anxiety.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic Pain is due to nerve damage or other parts of the nervous system. It’s usually described as stabbing, burning, shooting, or sharp pain. Other people describe it as being like an electric shock. It can also affect sensitivity to touch and cause someone to experience difficulty feeling cold or hot sensations.

Common causes of neuropathic pain include:

  • Cancer
  • Alcoholism
  • Stroke
  • Limb amputation
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Radiation
  • Diabetes

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is pain due to damage of body tissues. People usually describe it as a throbbing, sharp, or achy pain. And it is often caused by an external injury such as hitting your elbow, falling and scrapping up your knee, twisting your ankle, or stubbing your toe. This type of pain is often felt in the bones, skin, joints, tendons, and muscles.

Types of Pain Management for Different Types of Pain

Although some medications are considered more effective for various types of pain than others, factors like interacting supplements or medications, cause of the pain, coexisting conditions, and genetics can all impact the efficacy of a medicine. Possible treatment options for various types of pain include:

  • Acute pain: opioids (e.g., tramadol, morphine, codeine) and nonpharmacological treatments such as bioelectric therapy or ice.
  • Chronic pain: capsaicin cream, antidepressants, opioids, nonpharmacological treatments such as radiation therapy, bioelectric therapy.
  • Neuropathic pain: capsaicin cream, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, nonpharmacological treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Nociceptive pain: antidepressants, opioids, over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, nonpharmacological treatments such as physical therapy and electrical stimulation.

If Pain Persists, Make an Appointment at Texas Pain Experts

Some pain can be normal, especially if you’ve just undergone surgery, or had an illness or injury. Contact your doctor if the pain doesn’t stop, is intense, or prevents you from performing your daily activities. At  Texas Pain Experts, we have highly trained and certified physicians who can help you with pain management. Contact us today to make an appointment and for assistance in determining the proper medication for your pain.



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