Let’s Talk Pain: Different Types of Pain and How We Talk About Them

It might seem like an odd line of questioning, but would you know how to accurately describe pain if you needed to? Today we take a look at different types of pain, why they’re caused, and how to describe what you might be feeling in the event you need to see a professional.

First let’s take a look at some of the kinds of pain people can experience. 

Acute Pain

Acute pain most commonly happens suddenly and is the result of a specific cause. These causes can vary from planned events like surgery or childbirth to accidents, car crashes and slip-and-falls. Acute pain may be the result of a broken bone or other traumatic injury. In most cases, acute pain will go away when the underlying causes are treated. 

Chronic Pain

Conversely to acute pain, chronic pain is pain that does not resolve with time, and sometimes not even with traditional treatment. Sometimes chronic pain is caused by an injury or event, but sometimes the cause is unknown. For this reason, treating chronic pain can be more complicated than treating acute pain. 

Visceral Pain

Visceral pain activates receptors in the body when there is an injury to the internal organs. This type of pain is generally poorly defined and can feel like a pressure, aching and other vague pain sensation, and typically is not localized. 

Somatic Pain

Somatic pain is when your body’s tissues are injured, as opposed to its organs. These tissues include skin, muscles, joints, connective tissues, and bones. Unlike visceral pain, somatic pain is often easier to pinpoint. 

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is pain caused by damage to the central nervous system. It most commonly is not borne of specific injury and often comes on suddenly. 

Talking About Pain

Pain is always personal and individualized. No two people experience pain in the exact same way. While it is comforting to turn to loved ones when we’re in pain, it’s also important to seek professional care if you need it. 

Describing your pain to your doctor properly will help ensure he or she can provide the best possible care. Write down your symptoms before your appointment, and keep a symptom diary leading up to your appointment. Use specific terms (burning, aching, pressure, dull, sharp, etc.) to describe the pain you are experiencing and identify the place it hurts. Is it constant? Or fleeting? Thinking very specifically about your pain, writing it down, and relaying this information to your doctor will help your care provider best analyze your pain and provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Getting Help When You Need It

More important than understanding how to talk about your pain is the simple act of seeking the help you need and doing it right away. Any delays in seeing a professional will also delay your course of treatment. 

Here at AIPI, we always aim to provide the best quality care possible and we’re here to answer any questions you may have. Confused about acute pain relief? Have you been injured and need help? Reach out for a consultation any time.