Pain can attack in an assortment of ways. There are three specific types of pain Peripheral, Peripheral Neuropathic, and Central Neuropathic. Knowing these types of pain, how they are caused, and how they are treated can help anyone fighting an uphill battle with pain.
First, let's talk about Peripheral (nociception) pain. Peripheral pain is widely referred to as acute pain. Simply put, this is the pain due to an injury. For example, experiencing a small burn is considered Peripheral. You would feel the burn immediately and withdraw from the situation. However, seconds after the burning sensation is gone a new pain will take place. Fortunately for the vast majority of people, Peripheral pain is incredibly responsive to general pain medications. Inflammation or mechanical damage to tissue in actuality is the easiest type of pain to treat. In more serious cases of injury Peripheral pain also responds well to surgical procedures.
Our next type of pain, Peripheral Neuropathic, is more challenging. It is caused by damage or dysfunction of peripheral nerves. The nervous system is incredibly intricate resulting in this pain much more difficult to treat. Unlike Peripheral pain, Peripheral Neuropathic pain is not just temporary tissue damage it goes deep into the nervous system. Post-herpetic Neuralgia is a classic example of this type of pain. When an injury or illness is deep rooted within the nervous system there really isn't always a way to treat the issue itself. Treating this type of pain is less about curing and more about managing. Peripheral Neuropathic pain is responsive to both strong pain medications such as opioids. Some alternative treatments include acupuncture and physical therapy.
Central Neuropathic or Centralized Pain is by far the most taxing form of pain not only to have but also to treat. Central Neuropathic pain is characterized by a central disturbance in pain processing. In other words, the brain sends out and processes pain incorrectly. Fibromyalgia, as well as any other type of chronic pain, falls under this category of pain. Central Neuropathic pain has yet to find a cure or present treatments that will show a substantial decrease in the pain being experienced. It is really only responsive to neuroactive compounds that alter levels of the neurotransmitters being involved in pain transmission. Because of the fact that this is an issue with how the brain perceives pain and not a physical issue itself blocking the pain in its entirety is often impossible.
Something that is widely misunderstood about these types of pain is they can in fact overlap. A patient could experience Central Neuropathic pain in combination with Peripheral pain. Keeping that fact in mind will benefit anyone, especially those with chronic pain. Although a pain can be chronic and untreatable this may be in combination with a smaller injury that can be treated. Treating the smaller injury will decrease the daily amount of pain. Always remember to keep an open mind with these types of pain, they may overlap in ways you never imagined.
This piece can also be found on Buzzfeed https://www.buzzfeed.com/chronicpain09/three-types-of-pain-28rcj?utm_term=.icNGWq24a#.gwB6WK7Qe