BPS 31: Understanding Different Types of Back Pain

Knowing about the different types of pain will help you in better pain control. Pain can be divided into different categories. The treatment of a pain depends on the source and diagnosis of pain. In this post, you will learn about different types of pain.

Acute Pain

Acute pain lasts for a short time. The typical duration of an acute pain is around three to six months. This pain is generally related to tissue damage. Pain due to touching a hot stove, a needle prick, or a paper cut is known as acute pain. Other examples of acute pain include pain due to hitting one’s fingers with a hammer and childbirth pain.

Chronic Pain

When pain lasts for more than six months, the pain is known as chronic pain. This type of pain occurs when the tissue has not healed thereby causing pain. Degenerative disc disease and physical deconditioning due to lack of exercise and result in chronic pain. Sometimes chronic pain is not physical, but emotional in nature. This type of pain is caused due to emotional tension due to anxiety and depression.

Chronic pain can be divided into two types.

-Chronic Benign Pain — The type of chronic pain is caused by visceral stress, inflammation, or other pathophysiologic processes. This pain cannot be explained by physiologic nonfunctioning or physical lesions.

-Chronic Cancerous Pain — This type of pain occurs due to cancerous outgrowth. It is known as an acute chronic pain since the pain is recurrent and present to a severe degree.

Neuropathic Pain

The third type of pain is known as neuropathic pain. The pain does not show any signs of an observable injury. This type of pain normally occurs when the nerve sends pain messages to the brain even when there is no tissue damage.

Neuropathic pain can be categorized as a chronic pain. However, this type of pain has a different feel as compared to chronic musculoskeletal pain. The pain is generally described as sharp, severe, stabbing, lightning-like, burning, stabbing, or cold.

Due to neuropathic pain, the individual may also experience a tingling, numbness, and weakness. The pain may be felt above the spine and down the hands or feet. Neuropathy is potentially caused due to the injury of the motor or sensory nerves. The injury is said to be caused in the peripheral nervous system.

When the cause of the pain is found, treatment may allow the nerves to gradually heal thereby resulting in pain relief.  However, the pain may be harder to manage in case the treatment is delayed. Managing the pain would require more aggressive treatment.

Treatment options for pain due to neuropathy differs depending on the cause of the back pain. Medications such as NSAIDs such as COX-2 are not effective in neuropathy pain relief.

The symptoms of neuropathic back pain can often be reduced by using medications used for depression or epilepsy. Doctors generally recommend antidepressants and anticonvulsants to reduce the pain. In addition, topical medications are effective in treating this type of pain.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.