Updated: Apr 27
Many of those with chronic illnesses are aware of pain in general, but knowing how to identify the kind of pain we are feeling can not only help our doctors, but us as well! In medical terms, pain is explained as an uncomfortable sensation that is a sign of injury or illness. It is often our body’s way of telling us that something is just not quite right.
There are 5 types of pain that pain management clinics, doctors offices, and physical therapists offices uses to categorize a patient's pain and where it’s necessarily coming from:
ACUTE PAIN: This is used to describe pain that is experienced in a short duration, 3 months, which is short in comparison to the other kinds of pain. It is often related to soft tissue injury or a temporary illness such as the flu. But, acute pain can turn into chronic pain if the injury or trauma that is causing it is not healed or treated properly.
CHRONIC PAIN: All of our EDS/HSD or other chronic illness warriors are familiar with chronic pain. Chronic pain can be described as constant or intermittent, and can be considered chronic if it lasts for months or years (even if the pain isn’t always present!). Chronic pain is almost always due to a chronic health condition, hence the name chronic pain. Chronic pain encapsulates other kinds of pain, that will be discussed below.
NEUROPATHIC PAIN: This pain is due to damage to the nerves or other parts of your nervous system. This pain is described by patients as stabbing, burning, or shooting, and can also affect one’s perception of hot and cold temperatures. Neuropathic pain falls under the umbrella of chronic pain, as it can be severe and lead to mobility issues. Neuropathic pain can also be intermittent.
NOCICEPTIVE PAIN: This kind of pain is a result of damage to one's body tissue. For example, it can be caused by hitting your knee on a stool, stubbing your toe, jamming your finger, or getting a cut or scrape on your skin. This kind of pain can be categorized as acute or chronic, depending on the severity and treatment protocol.
RADICULAR PAIN: This kind of pain is incredibly common in EDS/HSD patients. Many hypermobile patients have cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine manifestations such as scoliosis, kyphosis, overall instability, Chiari Malformation, Tethered Cord, and subluxations/dislocations. Radicular pain is characterized by pain that occurs when the spinal nerve gets inflamed or compressed. This causes pain that radiates from one part of the body to the other. It can go from the back and hip to the legs, or from the neck down to the shoulder. Pain has been described as numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Radicular pain is also called sciatica in some cases where the lumbar spine is affected.
If you believe you have pain that needs to be addressed,, be sure to consult your medical professional to find out what treatment is best for you. Actify Physiotherapy's blog, instagram, and twitter account are all used for informational purposes only. Please ONLY consult a medical professional about any particular medical questions or issues.