Pain is a feeling which we feel due to some injury or trauma. It may be burning, sharp, pricking or slow aching pain. It is, in fact, a helpful feeling by which a person becomes aware of the pathology which is going on within his body so diagnose can be made. It is a complex perception and it differs among different individuals.
Somatic Pain: The sense organs for somatic pain are the naked nerve ending and initial pain is sharp which is transmitted by fast conducting fibers and the more prolonged burning pain travels in the slow-conducting nerve fibers. The somatic pain is also given another name the parietal pain which occurs in the parietal surfaces e.g. parietal peritoneum, pleura or pericardium.
Visceral Pain: In case of visceral, there are special receptors, chemoreceptors, baroreceptors, osmoreceptors as well as stretch receptors that are sensitive to a variety of stimuli. For example chemical stimuli, ischemia spasm of the hollow viscus, stretching of connective tissues surrounding or within the viscera and excess distention of any hollow viscera. Essentially all the visceral pain originates in the chest and abdomen is of a chronic aching suffering type of pain. The visceral pains are poorly localized and are often associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, and tachycardia. It can be referred to different sites.
Pain can be acute or it can be chronic.
Acute pain: This pain occurs on some injury or acute trauma or due to infection or inflammation. It is a mostly self-limiting type of pain. Acute pain remains confined to the time of injury and its severity. In some instances, it may become chronic as well.
Chronic pain: Chronic pain occurs intermittently with pain-free intervals as well. It occurs mostly in fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, any musculoskeletal disease conditions. The chronic type of pain has shown some resistance to medical treatment so that’s why it persists for a longer time period.
Causes of Chronic Pain
The continuous stimulating pain carrying sensory receptors transmission to the dorsal horn may result in a wind-up phenomenon which produces pathological changes that decrease the threshold for pain signals that is to be transmitted. It may also generate sensory pain receptors to respond to pain signals. Non-nociceptive nerve fibers are also able to produce and transmit pain signals. In chronic pain, this process is difficult to stop or reverse once it has established.
The main symptom is the pain which comes and goes but always remains to re-occur. It may be mild to moderate or severe. There is also feeling of tightness and stiffness in the body. Pain is not only the symptom but it is accompanied by a variety of other complaints. These are fatigue, decrease immunity, sleep disorders, depression, sadness, fear or decreased concentration in the work.
It is made after taking a complete history and physical examination. Some tests if done are better. MRI shows that different areas of the brain even at rest are continually processing pains.
This days’ new techniques have been used to treat chronic pain with success. These include acupuncture and electrical stimulation of the skin. The anticipation of the relief of pain is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, which inhibits the normal pain pathway so the patient does not feel pain.
Amna Sheikh is a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelors in Economics and Statistics. She is also a medical writer working as a freelancer for 10+ years and she is specialized in medical, health, and pharmaceutical writing, regulatory writing & clinical research. All her work is supported by a strong academic and professional experience.