Classifying Pain

Acute Pain

In most cases, pain can be acute, experienced by the patient as throb or intense short lived event.

Acute pain is accompanied by signs of hyperactivity in the automatic nervous system (sweating and vasoconstruction manifest) Patients will exhibit increased heart rate and  facial expressions will be contorted 

Chronic Pain

Pain can sometime last for a long time - even over many years. Chronic pain not only effects a patients physical well being but also their mental wellbeing.

Chronic pain (classified as pain lasting more than 6 weeks) can effect a persons' ability to lead a normal life and is difficult to treat as the effects on the central nervous system change over time.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is a pain that comes from problems with signals from the nerves. There are various causes. It is different to the common type of pain that is due to an injury, burn, pressure, etc. Traditional painkillers such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatories and codeine usually do not help very much. However, neuropathic pain is often eased by antidepressant or anti-epileptic medicines - by an action that is separate to their action on depression and epilepsy. Other pain-relieving medicines and techniques are also sometimes used.

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is typically aching, sharp, or throbbing, but it may be dull. A blockage in an internal organ usually causes deep, cramping pain, and the pain's location may be hard to pinpoint. But when certain soft tissues, such as those that surround and enclose internal organs, are damaged, the pain may be sharp and easy to locate.

The pain almost universally experienced after surgery is nociceptive pain. The pain may be constant or intermittent, often worsening when a person moves, coughs, laughs, or breathes deeply or when the dressings over the surgical wound are changed.

Most of the pain due to cancer is nociceptive. When a tumor invades bones and organs, it may cause mild discomfort or severe, unrelenting pain. Some cancer treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy, can also cause nociceptive pain.

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