What Does the Pain Feel Like?

Saying, 'It hurts,' really isn’t very descriptive. Knowing how to describe your pain can be helpful in receiving the proper treatment!

Many times, when you seek the care and advice of a health care professional for pain, their first question will be, “So… what does the pain feel like?” And how often do you have a tough time answering what appears, at least on the surface, to be a very simple question?

Feelings of physical pain can vary greatly not only from one condition to the next, but for the same condition in different patients. Pain is often described as mild, sharp, severe, dull, intermittent, chronic, or tingly. These are adjectives that describe the sensation of the pain, but there are three different types of pain, based on where it occurs in your body:

Somatic Pain

You feel somatic pain when there is an injury to the skin or underlying tissue. This pain is usually sharp and of short duration, the kind of pain that occurs when you burn your hand on a hot pan or cut your finger with a knife.

Sometimes, somatic pain begins deeper under the skin in ligaments, tendons or bones. This type of pain tends to be a longer lasting, duller ache – the type of pain you might experience when you sprain your ankle or break a bone.

Visceral Pain

You feel visceral pain when there is something wrong with one of your internal organs (i.e. heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder, uterus, and ovaries). This pain is often described as an “aching” or “cramping,” such as the pain many women feel as part of pre-menstrual syndrome.

One of the problems with internal organs is that many do not have sensitive pain receptors. In fact, diseases of the lungs, liver and kidneys may not produce any pain and may be fairly advanced before you even notice that something is wrong. On the other hand, relatively minor problems with the stomach or bladder can produce severe pain!

Neuropathic Pain

Also called nerve pain, neuropathic pain is often described as a sensation of numbness, pressure, tingling, pins and needles, tightness, throbbing, burning, or aching. Nerve pain can result from nerve compression (i.e. a cancerous growth pushing on a nerve), nerve damage from a disease (such as diabetes, fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis), or abnormal brain processing, such as the phantom limb pain that a person may feel from an amputated limb.

Sciatica and other types of back pain can result when spinal bones press on nerves. The goal of chiropractic adjustments is to free those nerves to function as they should, allowing the area affected by the “pinched” nerve to heal.

Many patients who once suffered from some type of neuropathic pain are now pain-free because of regular chiropractic adjustments!

Dr. Levy has been practicing at the Woodbury Chiropractic Center since 1980.   The Center is a full service Holistic Health Care Center providing Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Spinal Decompression and Therapeutic Massage. Visit http://www.woodburychiropracticcenter.com/  or http://www.woodburyphysicaltherapy.com/ for more information. 

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