Somatic Pain and Neuropathic Pain

There are two types and levels of pain. The two levels of pain describe how long the patient has suffered symptoms. The two levels of pain are acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain generally describes pain that lasts for two weeks or less, and doesn't involve any residual discomfort or soft tissue damage one the original site of the injury has healed. Chronic pain is pain and other associated symptoms that lasts for three months or longer and beyond the point when the tissue has healed.

There are also two types of pain, which involve the location of injury and where the pain originates. The two types of pain are Somatic Pain and Neuropathic Pain. Somatic pain, also known as nociceptive pain, involves pain that originates in body structures other than the nerves of the body. Somatic pain does involve the nerves of the body sending pain signals to the brain. In a typical case of somatic pain, damage or injury to the ligaments, tendons, intervertrbal discs, or other tissues affects the nerves near the site of damage, and these pain sensitive nerves send signals to our brain that results in our experience of pain. In this sense, all types of pain are nerve pain. With Neuropathic pain, however, pain signals originate in the nerve fibers themselves, in the absence of joint arthritis or trauma to soft tissues.

Somatic Pain: Somatic pain is pain that results due to damage to one or more of the structures of the musculoskeletal system. The structures of the musculoskeletal system include the bones, muscles, joints, and other soft tissues, such as the tendons and ligaments. Most people experience this type of pain. The pathway to experiencing this type of pain begins in the structures that have become injured, when they are damaged in some way. At or near the site of injury, sensory receptors called nociceptors, detect signs of injury, including tears in the soft tissues, muscle spasms, mechanical changes, and chemical or thermal changes. If the nociceptors in these nerve endings for pain are sufficiently stimulated, they initiate pain signals towards the spinal cord and up to the brain. Somatic pain receptors are located in nearly all the tissues of the body, though are more concentrated closer to the body surfaces. Somatic pain tends to be a diffuse, dull aching pain rather than a sharp or localized pain because they tend to be located in the more superficial tissues of the body (towards the body surface). Because somatic nerve endings are sensitive to thermal and chemical changes, they are often associated with the inflammatory healing response. When acute injuries occur at or near the joints due to breaks, sprains, or infection, the body response to these changes by swelling, increased blood flow, and increased temperature to the sites of damage. The sensory receptors of the somatic system for pain detect these changes and issues initiates a pain response.

Neuropathic pain is nerve pain. This type of brain occurs when certain nerves send pain messages to the brain in the absence of an injury. This may occur due to a disease that affects the nerves themselves, causing them to send signals to the brain that are not appropriate to the health or condition of the structures or body processes. This misfiring of signals from the nerves may occur due to a neuromuscular disease that affects the entire nervous system, or due to a previous injury that results in a faulty re-wiring of the nerves.