The Different Types of Chronic Pain
The human body contains a network of nerves called the peripheral nervous system. It consists of nerves that weave in and out of the spinal column to other parts of the body. These nerves transmit pain signals to the brain. If they are damaged (usually through injury or disease), this leads to neuropathic pain. When the nerves begin to malfunction, faulty pain signals are sent to the brain, thereby, leading to chronic neuropathic pain. An example of chronic neuropathic pain is when a nerve is crushed and damaged from an accident. The wound and bones may heal, but the nerve damage may lead to neuropathic chronic pain.
Nociceptive pain occurs when part of the body sustains an injury or a medical condition is present. Nociceptive pain is categorized into four types: somatic, bone, muscle and visceral.
- Somatic Pain
Somatic pain develops from external factors such as an injury to the skin, bones, muscles or ligaments. It is described as sharp and throbbing pain.
- Bone Pain
If a person breaks a bone, the break eventually heals. An example of chronic somatic bone pain would be if the bone continues to cause pain even after it is healed.
- Muscle Pain
Post-workout soreness is not an example of chronic pain. If the muscle has been worked to the point of persistent pain and spasms, this is an example of chronic somatic muscle pain. Muscle pain can also occur from certain medical conditions.
- Visceral Pain
Visceral pain initiates from internal organs. The troublesome part about visceral pain is that the brain cannot pinpoint exactly where the pain is originating. Visceral pain can be “referred” pain from another part of the body. For example, pain may be felt in the lower back but is actually originating from the kidneys. Seeking the advice of a medical professional is critical for a proper diagnosis.