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Health Education Blog

Understanding Different Types of Pain

Posted by Staff on June 27, 2017

pain written in letterpress lettersPain is a sign that there is something wrong in your body and often times, it can make you miserable. What you may not know is that all pain is not created equal. There are several different types of pain that are caused for a variety of reasons. If you are able to understand what type of pain you're suffering from, you will have a better idea of what type of doctor you would see and how the pain would be treated.

Acute Pain

Acute pain comes on suddenly and often lasts no longer than six months. It's often the result of an injury or damage to a bone, muscle, tissue, or one of your organs. For example, a broken arm, a torn muscle, and appendicitis would all cause acute pain. According to WebMD, acute pain is often accompanied by anxiety because you are worried about what's causing the pain.

Treating Acute Pain:

There are several different treatments for acute pain, depending on the cause of the pain and the severity. Luckily, of all the types of pain, acute pain is often the easiest to treat. Some of the most common treatments include:

  • Stabilization

  • Compression

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Moist heat

  • Surgery

  • Over the counter pain medication

  • Prescription pain medication

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain lasts much longer than acute pain and it's usually associated with a long-term illness. Chronic pain lasts longer than six months. In many cases, people who suffer from chronic pain do so for the rest of their lives.

According to Healthline, the most common causes of chronic pain include migraine headaches, post-surgical pain, post-trauma pain, cancer, arthritis pain, and lower back pain. There are plenty of other conditions that can result in chronic pain. When a person is in pain that needs to be constantly treated for a long period of time, it can also result in psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Treating Chronic Pain:

Treating chronic pain can be very difficult. The pain can be debilitating and it can be somewhat resistant to medical treatment. A few of the most common treatments for chronic pain include:

  • Prescription pain medication (70% of the people who are treated with pain medication often experience breakthrough pain. This is when the pain flares up between regular doses of their pain medication)

  • Prescription topical pain relievers and patches

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Moist heat

  • Physical therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • TENS unit

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain causes tingling, numbness, shooting pain and burning pain. This type of pain is often accompanied by a tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers are damaged, and they send incorrect pain signals to various pain centers.

A few of the most common causes of neuropathic pain include alcoholism, amputation (phantom leg syndrome), chemotherapy, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, shingles, and spine injuries.

Treating Neuropathic Pain:

The best treatment for neuropathic pain would depend on the root cause of the pain. The professionals at Orchard Hospital's Medical Specialty Center - Your Everyday Health Care Clinic would be able to help you get to the root of your pain and provide the necessary treatment.

Some of the most common treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Strong pain killers (morphine, Oxycontin, etc.)

  • Anticonvulsant and antidepressant drugs

  • Better management of the condition that is causing the pain

  • Electrical stimulation

  • Physical therapy

  • Massage therapy

  • Acupuncture

Psychogenic Pain

Psychogenic pain is also known as psychalgia. People who suffer from this type of pain do so as a result of increased or prolonged mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. The most common types of psychogenic pain include back pain, headaches, and stomach pains.

This is a very difficult type of pain to deal with because people who are not familiar with medicine stigmatize people with this type of pain as being crazy and having pain that is not real.

Often times, people who suffer from psychogenic pain are called hypochondriacs. Because of this, these people often don't seek the treatment that they need. Some of the most common causes of this type of pain include extreme stress, the death of a loved one, the end of a serious relationship, and various mental disorders.

Treating Psychogenic Pain:

Treating psychogenic pain is different than treating the other types of pain because there are no physical issues. The most common treatments for psychogenic pain include:

  • Antidepressants

  • Psychotherapy

  • Over the counter pain medications

  • Hospitalization (In severe cases)

  • Prescription medication (In severe cases)

Pain can make it very difficult for a person to live their lives normally. Depending on the severity of the pain, it can make it difficult for you to hold down a job, walk, get out of bed, and even to take care of yourself. If you are suffering from any type of pain you should contact a doctor. There are treatments available that will help you manage the pain and allow you to live a relatively normal life regardless of the pain.

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior healthcare. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect. 

Topics: Pain Management

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