What is pain?Edit

Pain is physical suffering or distress, as due to illness, injury, etc... a distressing sensation in a particular part of the body; a mental or emotional suffering or torment. In medicine pain relates to a sensation that hurts. If you feel pain it hurts, you feel discomfort, distress and perhaps agony, depending on the severity of it. Pain can be steady and constant, in which case it may be an ache. It might be a throbbing pain - a pulsating pain. The pain could have a pinching sensation, or a stabbing one. Only the person who is experiencing the pain can describe it properly. Pain is a very individual experience.

Types of painEdit


Acute pain - this can be intense and short-lived, in which case we call it acute pain. Acute pain may be an indication of an injury. When the injury heals the pain usually goes away.

Chronic pain - this sensation lasts much longer than acute pain. Chronic pain does not stop when the injury heals. It is persistent, lasting 6 months, 20 years and beyond..

Chronic pain can be mild or intense (severe).

How do we classify pain?

Pain can be nociceptive, non-nociveptive, somatic, visceral, neuropathic, or sympathetic. Look at the table below.

Nociceptive Non-Nociceptive
Somatic Visceral Neuropathic Sympathetic

Nociceptive Pain - specific pain receptors are stimulated. These receptors sense temperature (hot/cold), vibration, stretch, and chemicals released from damaged cells.

Somatic Pain - a type of nociceptive pain. Pain felt on the skin, muscle, joints, bones and ligaments is called somatic pain. The term musculo-skeletal pain means somatic pain. The pain receptors are sen

sitive to temperature (hot/cold), vibration, and stretch (in the muscles). They are also sensitive to inflammation, as would happen if you cut yourself, sprain something that causes tissue damage. Pain as a result of lack of oxygen, as in ischemic muscle cramps, are a type of nociceptive pain. Somatic pain is generally sharp and well localized - if you touch it or move the affected area the pain will worsen.

Visceral Pain - a type of nociceptive pain. It is felt in the internal organs and main body cavities. The cavities are divided into the thorax (lungs and heart), abdomen (bowels, spleen, liver and kidneys), and the pelvis (ovaries, bladder, and the womb). The pain receptors - nociceptors - sense inflammation, stretch and ischemia (oxygen starvation).

Visceral pain is more difficult to localize than somatic pain. The sensation is more likely to be a vague deep ache. Colicky and cramping sensations are generally types of visceral pain. Visceral pain commonly refers to some type of back pain- pelvic pain generally refers to the lower back, abdominal pain to the mid-back, and thoracic pain to the upper back.

Pain Management and the Role of Nursing Edit


Pain management encompasses various types of pain experiences throughout an individual’s life cycle from birth to the end of life. Pain experiences may include acute and chronic pain, pain from a chronic deteriorating condition, or pain as one of many symptoms of the patient receiving palliative care. Pain is not exclusively physiological but also includes spiritual, emotional and psychosocial dimensions. The goal of pain management throughout the life cycle is the same as to address the dimensions of pain and to provide maximum pain relief with minimal side effects.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.