Pain is a complex and subjective experience that is the body’s response to harmful stimuli. It is a warning system that alerts the body to potential injury or damage, and it can vary greatly in intensity, duration, and quality.
The international Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage”
Pain is classified in several ways, most commonly into two main types: acute and chronic. Acute pain is usually a temporary response to injury or tissue damage, and it typically goes away once the injury or damage has healed. Chronic pain, on the other hand, persists for longer than six months, and can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, illness, and certain medical conditions.
Pain can be felt in different parts of the body, such as the skin, muscles, bones, internal organs and it can be described in various ways, such as sharp, dull, aching, throbbing, or shooting. Pain can also be described as somatic, which means it’s felt in the body’s tissues, or visceral, which means it’s felt in the body’s organs.
Pain can be treated using a combination of medication, physical therapy, and psychological therapies. The goal of pain management is to reduce the intensity of pain, improve the individual’s ability to function, and improve their quality of life.
Pain is also classified by type. There are three main types of pain: Nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain and nociplastic pain.
The most commonly quoted definition for chronic pain is “pain that persists for three months or more, or for longer than the expected tissue healing time”. This is only one type of ‘chronic pain’ and not all chronic pain fits this definition.
It’s very important to understand that there are two different types of chronic pain – chronic primary pain and chronic secondary pain and the distinction is extremely important as these two types of pain are treated very differently.