The 4 Major Types of Pain

You may have different types of pain due to various reasons. It is somewhat important for us, an experience that acts as a defense mechanism. It becomes a problem when it starts to persist and last.

While everyone experiences some sort of physical pain or discomfort, most people do not bother getting to the cause of that pain. In most cases, it tends to diminish with time, but other times, it can develop into great severity and ruin your quality of life. Understanding the specific type of pain is crucial when it comes to treating it.

Major Types of Pain

Once you understand the difference between the different types of pain, you can better identify them, which will ultimately make the job of your physician easier. The practical and consequential causes of pain can be multiple. However, physiologically, there are four major types of pain.

4 Major Types of Pain

The four major types of pain are nociceptive Pain, inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and dysfunctional pain. Each of these pains has different physiological tendencies and, because of that, their diagnosis, treatment, and experiences differ from each other.

Nociceptive Pain

You may begin to wonder how we feel a certain pain, such as a joint or knee injury from a sporting activity. Special nerve endings in our body are responsible for the pain to initiate. Another name for these nerve endings is Nociceptors.

These nerve endings indicate pain in response to an injury or external physical damage. Thus, the throbbing, aching, and sharp pain that you feel after collision or damage is the Nociceptive pain. Anytime a person experiences a physical injury, the Nociceptors in the body stimulate and send pain signals to the brain.

This type of pain is indicative of an injury, and you can feel it exactly in the region of damage. To activate these nerve cell endings, you have to break the threshold of activation of these nerve cells. In other words, when slight discomfort turns into severe pain, that is when the activation of the Nociceptors is most evident.

Like all the other nerves in your body, they also generate electrical signals, or “action potential,” which relays into the spine and eventually travels to the brain. However, it is not important that you feel pain after an electrical signal travels.

Instead, the upcoming signal needs to be important enough for your brain to recognize it. This type of pain, or Nociceptive pain, is vital for the human body. It warns us of a potential threat to our physiological being. Hence, it is crucial for survival.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to your nervous system. It may seem similar to Nociceptive pain, where certain nerves stimulate the occurrence of an injury and send signals to the brain, which interprets those signals as pain.

However, there is a difference. In Nociceptive pain, the pain occurs from external stimuli, such as an injury or damage. This is completely unlike the nature of Neuropathic pain.

In this type of pain, the receptors do not respond to external stress; instead, the pain occurs because they develop problems within themselves. It is a result of the irritable and dysfunctional behavior of nerve endings.

One of the most common Neuropathic conditions is Sciatica. In this condition, the nerves in the spine experience compression, usually by a disc. This leads them to become internally faulty and causes you to experience pain. Neuropathic pain may even be distinctive to the condition that is causing it. It has unpredictable behavior.

Inflammatory Pain

Inflammation is a chemical reaction in which our body releases certain inflammatory mediators in response to an unwanted injury or bacterial invasion. These mediators can cause two outcomes; they will result in making our blood vessels enlarge, more commonly known as “swelling.”

Secondly, the same inflammatory mediators can cause the stimulation of the Nociceptors in the injury site. This means that you will experience the same discomfort and pain that you experience in an injury. However, this type of inflammation is not long-lasting and may diminish in three to four days.

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Dysfunctional Pain

Dysfunctional pain occurs when a person’s pain processing system acts abnormally. This pain can occur even when there is no diagnosis of an injury or fault in a person physically. Due to the faulty pain processing centers, a person may experience a higher or lower intensity of pain.

This change in the typical nature of pain is what you can refer to as Dysfunctional pain. For example, a sports injury hurts initially; however, it can diminish over time. If that pain persists and refuses to lower in intensity, then that pain is dysfunctional.

The 4 Major Types of Pain: Conclusion

Suffering from pain is the worst thing that can happen to you regardless of its type. If you or anyone you know suffers from the excruciating pain that they want to treat, then book an appointment with Dr. Mathew Grimm, one of the best pain specialists in New York. Call now at 646-862-5555 or visit our website for more information.

Matthew Grimm, M.D.
160 E 56th St
11th Floor
New York, NY 10022


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