Article by A. Clarke, S. Armfield

Understanding Pain


image source:

We all suffer pain. We all do different things to cause pain. We all feel pain slightly differently.

Why does pain persist in some of us, but not in others? Why is your pain so difficult to explain to others?

Maybe it's because we have difficulty understanding the who, what, where, when and how about pain.

Pain... a simple word... a pandora box of thinking! The following article is designed to help you understand pain and pain management.

Types of Pain

Nerve Pain

Nerve pain (neuropathic pain) is pain caused by damage or disease that affects your nervous system. Nerve pain can occur due to direct damage to the nerve (eg diabetic peripheral neuropathy, cut nerve, post-stroke). Alternatively, it can be affected by a virus eg shingles.

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain seems a little easier to explain.  It occurs when you knowingly damage something eg a muscle tear or a broken bone.

The nerve endings in the damaged tissue detect a problem and initiate pain signals that are transferred through your peripheral nerves to the brain via the spinal cord. Your brain interprets the signals as pain.

Nociceptive Pain Types

Just to complicate things a little more there are two types of nociceptive pain. Somatic pain and radicular pain.

Somatic Pain

Somatic pain is pain caused by the injured structures eg muscles and joints sending pain signals up to your spinal cord and then your brain.

Radicular Pain

Radicular pain is pain that stems from irritation of the nerve roots, for example, from a bulging disc. Radicular pain sends pain down the distribution of the pinched nerve. eg sciatica.

The more pinched a nerve becomes the more likely you are to experience a radiculopathy. Symptoms can include muscle weakness, numbness, pins and needles or loss of reflexes in the distribution of the pinched nerve.

Acute Pain vs Chronic Pain

Acute pain is associated with a new onset of pain. It is normally associated with injury.

Chronic pain is persisting pain that has lasted over three months. Interestingly, chronic pain is not usually related to damaged tissue. Chronic pain is different to acute pain. Another term for chronic pain could actually be "brain pain". If you suffer chronic pain, we highly recommended reading the following articles and viewing the video to understand more about chronic pain.

Call PhysioWorks

Book Online

More information about Pain & Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain?

What is Pain?

What is Nerve Pain?

Muscle & Joint Pain 

Pain Management Options

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
  • Active Foot Posture Correction Exercises
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Walking Boot
  • Brace or Support
  • Dry Needling
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Knee Arthroscopy
  • Neurodynamics
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Prehabilitation
  • Running Analysis
  • Scapulohumeral Rhythm Exercises
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • Yoga
  • Pain Relief Products Online

    TENS Machines

    Call PhysioWorks

    Book Online

    Share this page

    Last updated 29-Aug-2018 09:28 PM

    Receive Special Offers and the Latest Injury Information

    Enter Details Below to Signup:

    Receive Special Offers and the Latest Injury Information

    Enter Details Below to Signup:

    PhysioWorks does not endorse companies or products who choose to advertise on this website. Advertising revenue supports the free access to our educational content and its updates. Check out the links below for more specific health information from your trusted PhysioWorks team.

    Share this page