Pain Types and Classifications

Despite being unpleasant, pain is an essential communication tool that your body uses to let you know when something is amiss. Without pain, you would be much more prone to seriously injuring yourself.

Whether you’re faced with chronic lower back discomfort or acute pain caused by a sports-related injury, it is important to understand how this phenomenon is classified. While pain varies from person to person, several standard types are used by medical professionals. Below, we outline the different pain types and how to tell them apart from each other.

Acute Pain

Acute pain refers to the discomfort that has a rapid onset and only lasts for a limited time. This type of pain is usually caused by tissue damage. Due to the rapid onset, acute pain almost always causes some sort of emotional distress or anxiousness. An example of acute pain is a muscle cramp or “charlie horse” in your calf.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is discomfort that lasts for a much longer time. It is typically resistant to treatment and is usually linked to a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or degenerative disc disease.

Chronic pain can be especially debilitating because patients must deal with it for a prolonged time. Experiencing days on end of serious discomfort can cause psychological stress, as well. While chronic pain can also be caused due to tissue damage, it is more often the result of nerve damage.

Other Pain Classification Methods

Pain is usually classified based on its duration (chronic or acute), but it can also be categorized based on what causes it. The two primary causes of pain include:

Nerve Damage

Nerves relay information via electrical impulses. When these nerves are damaged, impulses can be sent with irregular intensity or frequency, which causes pain. Sensations of nerve pain are often unusual and do not correspond with stimuli that the patient is experiencing. For instance, nerve pain may present as a burning sensation in one or more limbs.

Tissue Damage

Tissue damage is almost always the cause of acute pain. When ligaments, tendons, muscles, or bones are damaged, the result is localized pain to that area. Tissue damage may be caused by athletic activities, an accident, or by a disease. Acute pain is usually described as a throbbing, aching, or stabbing sensation, depending on the nature of the tissue damage.

If you are experiencing pain that hinders your quality of life, understanding which type of discomfort that you are suffering from is the first step towards addressing the symptoms. Once you know how to describe and classify your pain, you will be able to relay your experiences to medical professionals. They will then be able to treat your pain at its source through various interventions.

Patients are exploring regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, as an alternative or additional method of treatment modality. Mesenchymal stem cells have been most commonly used in therapies since they have regenerative and healing properties studied to be safe and a viable option.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions. Click here to learn more.


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