Pain Can Be Life AlteringPerpetualChronicExcrutiatingManaged
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that is usually caused by tissue damage due to injury or disease. After injury the body is usually able to heal itself but sometimes pain may persist, even where it appears that healing has taken place. In this case it is usually because neuropathic pain has set in. Neuropathic pain happens because the nervous system is alive and dynamic or as neuroscientists describe it capable of “neuroplasticity”. Usually, this is a good thing as it allows full healing to take place.
However, in a significant number of cases the nervous system can morph in a pathological way and become sensitized in a way that perpetuates pain. With this type of neuropathic pain, the system is essentially stuck in the on position and conveys pain information in the absence of any new tissue damage. The excruciating pain from shingles is an example of neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is one kind of chronic pain. Other types of chronic pain are often related to ongoing chronic straining or degeneration of the musculoskeletal system. Examples of this type of pain include the many types of knee, shoulder and back pain and injuries or over exertion from sports or inflammatory conditions.
Inflammation occurs in response to illness or injury. It is a part of the body’s sophisticated defense system. You can see evidence that it is activated when you see redness and swelling after an injury. Similar to the pain sensing system the immune system can go awry, it can overreact or even start attacking our own cells. A common example of this latter condition are the many forms of arthritis.
Types Of Pain
At the most basic level pain can be divided into 4 types:
Acute pain is short-lasting and associated with direct tissue damage such as when you burn yourself or get stung by a bee.
Chronic pain is pain is longer lasting and is related to neuropathic pain or continuous or repeated tissue damage such as in arthritis of inflammatory bowel disease.
Neuropathic pain is pain due to pathology in the nervous system.