Types of Pain
Doctors consider whether pain is acute or chronic to help them identify the cause and develop the suitable treatment strategy. Acute pain begins suddenly and usually does not last long. Severe acute pain may cause anxiety, a rapid heartbeat, an increased breathing rate, elevated blood pressure, sweating and dilated pupils. Chronic pain may persist for weeks or months. The term chronic is often used for pain that persists for more than one month beyond the usual course of an illness or injury. It may also refer to pain that recurs off and on for months or years or pain that is associated with a chronic disorder such as cancer.Pain can be classified as either noniceptive, neuropathic or psychogenic pain. Noniceptive pain is caused by an injury to body tissues. The injury may be a cut, bruise, bone fracture, crush injury, burn or anything that damages tissues. The pain that results from these injuries are typically aching, sharp or throbbing. Pain receptors for tissue injury are mostly located in the skin or in the internal organs.Neuropathic pain is caused by abnormalities in the nerves, spinal cord or brain. Manifestations of this type of pain may be a burning or tingling sensation or hypersensitivity to touch or cold. It includes syndromes such as phantom limb pain, postherpetic neuralgia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy and causalgia.Psychogenic pain is entirely or mostly related to a psychological disorder. This is used to refer to pain with no evidence of a disorder that could cause the pain. Pain almost always has a physical cause and purely psychogenic pain is very rare. Doctors may also use this term to indicate that the degree of pain and disability experienced are out of proportion to what most people with a similar disorder experience.