Types and Levels of Pain

Many people may be aware of only one type of pain: the kind that hurts and you wish would go away. But from advanced research into nervous systems and musculoskeletal disorders, we realize that there are many causes and types of pain. Though pain is a complex phenomena that often involves several physical and psychological factors, here are some of the basics. Pain is a neurological response to the body telling us that certain anatomical parts in it have become damaged or vulnerable. Our body may be telling us to stop doing something that is causing our body to be harmed, or it may be alerting our body to damage that has taken place.



Pain is considered to be a multidimensional symptom. What this means is that many diverse factors can increase or decrease pain, beyond the healing process of the actual injury. In more laymen's terms, there is more to pain than just simple physical changes affecting the nerves of our body, and these nerves submitting a pain response to the body as an automatic reflex. Our cognitive and emotional response to pain may affect the level of pain we experience, and highly emotional responses to pain may actually rewire the nervous system to make pain sensitive nerves more reactive to degenerative changes in the present and the future. For example, let's look at people who are prone to anxiety or have poor coping mechanisms for adversity. These type of people, when experiencing back pain as a result of muscle spasms or a bulging disc are more likely to react negatively to pain. This negative reaction may make these same nerve fibers that sent the first pain signals to the brain more highly reactive to changes in the body. From the available research, we have learned that our emotional responses to pain may affect the pain nerves of the body more sensitive to joint disease and other musculoskeletal disorders. A perfect examples of this would be patients with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia are far more likely than the average population to have psychological problems such as panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Conversely, patients in good emotional health, and those who learn to cope with pain may be more likely to quiet the nerves involved with pain, lowering pain levels.

The available information available have made doctors sensitive to treating the physical and emotional components to chronic conditions that cause pain.

There are two types of pain and two levels of pain. The two types of pain are somatic and nerve pain. The two levels of pain are acute and chronic pain.

The brain, and its extension, the spinal cord, comprise the central nervous system. The nerve branches that fork countless times off if the spinal cord, comprise the peripheral nervous system. Together, these two nervous systems are designed to perform many functions, including damage and pressure on the structures of our body. When changes in our body do occur, this somatic nervous system may react by sending pain signals to our body. Neuropathic pain is nerve pain.

Click here to learn more about the types and levels of pain we may experience as a result of injury or degenerative joint disease of the spine.