Pain is always a sign that something is wrong in your body. It’s uncomfortable and unpleasant, to say the very least. But how you experience pain has a wide variety of possible causes.
Sometimes, pain may be sharp and acute, especially if you’ve suffered a traumatic injury. But in other cases, pain may feel more subtle, and you may not even know what’s causing it.
The providers at Nutura Clinic in Portland, Oregon, explain more about the different types of pain and how you can get relief.
What is pain?
Although it may sound like a simple question, the sensation of pain is often complex. It involves communication between your spinal cord, your nerves, and your brain.
There are different types of pain, and sometimes you can experience more than one type of pain simultaneously, making the issue even more complicated.
Or you may experience pain differently than someone else, due in part to individual pain tolerances. One person may break a bone and not even know it, while someone else may feel excruciating pain from the same injury.
It can be difficult to know how to describe your pain to doctors when you’re seeking help.
The three types of pain
Generally speaking, pain falls into three major categories:
This type of pain often comes on suddenly and may result from trauma or injury. It’s usually short-term, and you can identify when it begins. Some examples of acute pain include:
- Broken bones
- Dental work
- Labor and childbirth
Most often, when the cause of your pain is addressed, your pain goes away.
Chronic pain is generally long-lasting, and sometimes it’s difficult to identify the cause. Chronic pain can last for years and can vary in severity, even in the same person. At times, your pain may feel severe and close to acute, while at other times it may just feel mild and somewhat bothersome.
However, chronic pain usually interferes with your quality of life, often significantly. And unfortunately, chronic pain is very common. An estimated 20% of United States adults have chronic pain.
Examples of chronic pain include:
- Fibromyalgia pain
- Frequent headaches
- Lower back pain
- Nerve damage pain
- Arthritis pain
Many of these causes of chronic pain are treatable. Holistic medicine, like we provide at Nutura Clinic, looks for the root causes of your pain.
This is the most common type of pain. You have nociceptors throughout your body, which are also known as pain receptors. Nociceptive pain may be either acute or chronic. But it can also be further broken down into two additional categories: visceral and somatic.
Visceral pain is most often felt in the trunk of your body, including your chest, abdomen, and pelvis. It’s caused by damage to your internal organs, but can sometimes be hard to describe. Some common terms for the sensations caused by visceral pain include aching, cramping, pressure, or squeezing.
You may also notice other symptoms, including nausea and a change in body temperature or heart rate. Examples of visceral pain include gallstones and appendicitis.
Somatic pain comes from the pain receptors in your tissues, but it’s often easier to identify the source of the pain. Examples of somatic pain include:
- Bone fractures
- Connective tissue disorders
- Cancer that affects your bones or skin
- Muscle strain
- Joint pain
It’s not that one type of pain is more serious than another; they just often have different causes and different remedies.
If you have any type of pain, you deserve to feel better, and we can help. Contact the providers at Nutura Clinic today by calling our office or booking an appointment online.