Meaning of Pain

What is Pain:

Pain is a neurophysiological response that occurs after injury or physical damage. It can also be expressed in cases in which the injury is non-existent, but the body acts as if it had occurred.

In broader terms, pain has been defined as an experience that can be sensory or emotional, and that can be perceived by any living being with a central nervous system.

Types of pain

Pain has various classifications based on its duration, cause, or location.

Pain according to its duration

Depending on the duration for which the pain lasts, we can classify it as acute or chronic.

Sharp pain

It is a signal of the nervous system before a potential or real damage. It is part of the body's defense system and its effect can be immediate or last up to six months. After that time, it is considered chronic pain.

Chronic pain

It has a persistence of more than six months and has multiple causes that originate it. Due to its persistence, this type of pain has a direct impact on the quality of life of patients, which is reflected not only physically, but also psychologically and emotionally.

Pain according to the origin of the disorder

Depending on the origin of the pain, it can be classified as nociceptive, neuropathic or psychogenic.

Nociceptive pain

Nociceptors are pain receptors. When they are stimulated, the feeling of discomfort is generated. Nociceptive pain is subdivided into two types:

  • Visceral pain: originating in organs or viscera.
  • Somatic pain: it can originate from the most superficial layers of the skin, to the blood vessels, passing through muscles, tendons, nerves, etc.

Neuropathic pain

It is a sensory experience that originates in the central nervous system (peripheral nerves, spinal column, brain), but is projected in a complete region, where these nerves are distributed.

Psychogenic pain

In this case, there are no direct physiological causes, since the pain has a psychological component. However, the sensation is real for the patient, so psychological or psychiatric intervention is required to establish the causes and the most appropriate treatment.

Pain according to location

In this case, the type of pain is classified according to the area where the stimulus occurs, therefore it can be:

  • Abdominal
  • Lumbar
  • Stomach
  • Renal
  • Trauma
  • Migraine (headache)

Phantom limb pain

It is a pain that is perceived in a part of the body that no longer exists. It is a disorder that can appear in some patients who have suffered amputations.

Although it was long believed that it was psychogenic pain, today it is known that the source of the stimulus comes from the nervous system, which is why it falls into the category of neuropathic pain.

Until now, the most accepted explanation is the one that states that the pain appears as a response of the spinal cord when losing communication with the absent limb. The reaction to this incongruity is pain that can range from acute to chronic, depending on the case.

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