What is pain?
In general, the term pain describes uncomfortable sensations in the body that stem from the activation of the nervous system. It may feel like a sharp stab or dull ache and may be described as throbbing, pinching, stinging, burning, or sore. Pain may start and stop frequently, occur only under some conditions, or maybe consistent. It may develop suddenly and last for a short period of time or may be acute. Pain may affect a specific part of your body or may be localized such as the overall body aches associated with the flu.
What causes the pain?
Pain is clearly caused by a specific injury or medical condition in some cases but in other cases may be less obvious or unknown. Many disorders or illnesses like arthritis, flu, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis can cause pain.
Types of pain
There are many types of pain. It is possible to experience more than one type of pain at the same time. If you are suffering from pain then identifying the type of pain may help your doctor narrow down the potential causes and develop a treatment plan.
Acute pain: Acute pain tends to occur suddenly as a result of a known medical procedure, injury, or illness and develops over a short period of time. Acute pain may result from illnesses such as food poisoning, strep throat, or appendicitis. It tends to be sharp, rather than dull and usually goes away within a few days, weeks, or months after the cause has been treated or resolved.
Chronic pains: Chronic pain may result from a variety of health conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, arthritis, or cancer. The cause of chronic pain is hard to identify in some cases. Some experience chronic pain when there is no other evidence of underlying injury or illness which is known as functional pain. You may experience chronic pain following an injury, even after the initial injury has healed.
Nociceptive pain: Nociceptive pain is caused by tissue damage that may result from injuries like burns, bruises, cuts, or fractures. When nociceptive pain develops in your ligaments, tendons, joints, skin, muscles, or bones is known as somatic pain. It may be chronic or acute depending on the underlying cause.
Functional pain: This pain is caused by no obvious injury or damage to your body and tends to be chronic, although acute functional pain may also develop. Most of the world’s population is suffering from functional pain syndrome irritable bowel syndrome which causes abdominal pain.
How pain is diagnosed?
Pain may be diagnosed by your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may order the following tests to check for potential causes of your pain such as urine tests, stool tests, blood tests, or cerebral spinal fluid tests to check for signs of infection or other illnesses. If you seek medical attention for your pain then your physician will first do a physical examination and ask you some questions. Be prepared to describe the pain history, when it started, when it is most intense, and whether it is mild, moderate, or severe.