Overcoming Health Issues | Pain Management, Types of Pain

pain management


Pain management has become a multi-billion dollar industry. According to data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 11.2 percent of American adults (25.3 million people) have experienced some form of pain every day for the past three months. The study also found that even more people — nearly 40 million or 17.6 percent of American adults — suffer from “severe levels” of pain

Pain Management: Types of Pain

According to Saint Jude Medical chronic pain can be broken down into Neuropathic and Neuropathic Pain

  • Nociceptive pain is caused when special nerve endings—called nociceptors—are irritated. Nociceptive pain is the type of pain you feel when you burn yourself, twist your ankle, or stub your toe. It is a dull or sharp aching pain, and it can be mild to severe. This type of pain can usually be controlled. .. Cancer pain and arthritis pain are common types of chronic nociceptive pain. Nociceptive pain usually responds well to pain medications, anti-inflammatory agents, or other drug therapies.  It usually does not respond well to neurostimulation.
  • Neuropathic pain is caused by a malfunction of the nervous system due to an injury or an illness. Neuropathic pain can be a sharp, intense, shocking, or shooting pain. It is also very stubborn in that it does not usually respond as well as nociceptive pain to standard pain therapies, such as over-the-counter pain medications (for example, aspirin or ibuprofen) and prescription pain medications. Unlike nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain can often be managed by neurostimulation.

The website StopPain.org also defines a third type of pain called

  • Psychogenic Pain: Most patients with chronic pain have some degree of psychological disturbance. Patients may be anxious or depressed, or have trouble coping. Psychological distress may not only be a consequence of the pain, but may also contribute to the pain itself. “Psychogenic” pain is a simple label for all kinds of pain that can be best explained by psychological problems.

Another article of note is from the National Institute of Health called: The Two Faces of Pain: Acute and Chronic

What is pain? The International Association for the Study of Pain describes it as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience.” There are two basic types of pain, and they are very different.

  • Acute pain: For the most part, has a physical cause, such as disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. This type of pain generally comes on quickly, for example, after trauma or surgery, and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. Acute pain resolves when its cause is treated and healing occurs.
  • Chronic pain lasts longer than acute, generally over three months. It may start with an injury or other cause, but it persists even after healing has occurred. Chronic pain is widely believed to be a disease, with known changes in the nerves that get worse with time. Due to its persistence, it can cause major problems in every aspect of a person’s life, and is frequently resistant to many medical treatments. A person may even have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions. Among the most common pain challenges for Americans are headaches, low back pain, arthritis pain, cancer pain, and nerve and muscle pain.

Most Common types of pain:

For a more detailed breakdown of pain, you can visit the site everydayhealth.  Here is a list of their 10 different types of common pain people seek treatment for.

  1. Headache Pain
  2. Back Pain
  3. Neck Pain
  4. Fibromyalgia (involves widespread pain and tenderness at various points on the body)
  5. Muscle Pain
  6. Osteoarthritis (breakdown of cartilage that normally keeps the bones in a joint from rubbing against each other.)
  7. Pelvic Pain
  8. Abdominal Pain
  9. Ischemic Pain (pain that results from collapsed blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body ie heart attack)
  10. Cancer Pain

Pain Management: Chronic Pain Studies

Here are some interesting facts on pain from a 2006 survey conducted for the American Pain Foundation, taken from an article at American Academy of Pain Medicine.

 Impact on Quality of Life

  • More than half of respondents (51%) felt they had little or no control over their pain –
  • Six out of ten patients (60%) said they experience breakthrough pain one or more times daily, severely impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.
  • Almost two-thirds (59%) reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life.
  • More than three-quarters of patients (77%) reported feeling depressed.
  • 70% said they have trouble concentrating.
  • 74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.
  • 86% reported an inability to sleep well.

The Burden of Pain on Everyday Life

  • When asked about four common types of pain, respondents of a National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated that low back pain was the most common (27%), followed by severe headache or migraine pain (15%), neck pain (15%) and facial ache or pain (4%).
  • The total annual incremental cost of health care due to pain ranges from $560 billion to $635 billion (in 2010 dollars) in the United States, which combines the medical costs of pain care and the economic costs related to disability days and lost wages and productivity.
  •  An estimated 20% of American adults (42 million people) report that pain or physical discomfort disrupts their sleep a few nights a week or more.
  • Over half (52.7%) of the workforce surveyed reported having headache, back pain, arthritis, or other musculoskeletal pain in the past two weeks, and 12.7% of all workforce lost productive time in a two-week period due to pain.
  • Overall, workers lost an average of 4.6 hours per week of productive time due to a pain condition.

Dealing with Pain

  • Among the major adjustments that chronic pain sufferers have made are such serious steps as taking disability leave from work (20%), changing jobs altogether (17%), getting help with activities of daily living (13%) and moving to a home that is easier to manage (13%).
  • Most pain sufferers (63%) have seen their family doctor for help.
  • Forty percent made an appointment with a specialist, such as an orthopedist.
  • Twenty-five percent have visited a chiropractor or a doctor that specializes in pain management (15%).
  • Treatments for pain have yielded mixed results. Although 58% of those who took prescription medication say that doing so was very fairly effective for their pain, only 41% of those who took over-the-counter

Seven in ten Americans feel that pain research and management should be one of the medical community’s top few priorities (16%) or a high priority (55%)

As we can see by the above information, pain is not as straight forward as it may seem.  There are many types and severity, and it’s effect on us can be catastrophic.  This is why the management of pain is such an important area, especially for those of us that suffer ongoing pain.

Now that we’ve covered the types and consequences of pain, we can take a look at some  simple ways to manage pain. So join us for part 3: Simple steps to pain management.