Pain is a very unpleasant sensation which tells you that something might be wrong. It may be steady, stabbing, burning, aching, numb, or described in several other ways. At times, it may simply be just a nuisance. Other times it may be extremely painful. For some people, pain and discomfort are continuous, chronic, and/or recurrent. While some types of pain are normal and are easily managed, other types of pain need immediate medical attention.
The distinction between acute pain and chronic pain depends largely on how they affect the individual. Acute pain, such as pain from a broken bone, sprains, muscle pulls, and sprained ligaments, dissipates within days to a few weeks. While this type of pain is usually not disabling, if it is persistent and continuing for more than a few weeks, it is considered chronic pain. There are several different types of pain that can affect the nervous system and cause it to function inappropriately. Acute pain usually follows injury, is felt in the central nervous system, and signals the nervous system to initiate emergency functions such as breathing or moving the limb.
Nerve signals from the brain to reach the spinal cord, which sends the pain signals to the spinal cord and sends the message that you have incurred damage to your body. The spinal cord then delivers the message to various areas of the body, including the muscles and organs. In some cases, nerves may become damaged to the point where they are cut, torn, or compressed, resulting in unpleasant sensation pain. When damage to the spinal cord occurs, signals cannot travel to the brain, so the messages do not get to the brain, which in turn does not properly respond to the pain and sends you away from life threatening harm.
There are several different types of pain: edema, neuropathic pain, and inflammatory pain. Neuropathic pain comes from the nerves that are damaged to the point that they are not able to perform their normal functions. For example, if your brain is telling your body to stop using its leg muscles, but you injure a nerve so badly that it causes you severe pain, this is neuropathic pain. Pain caused by inflammatory conditions typically comes from tissue damage inside the body, such as from digestive problems or kidney stones.
Pain usually starts in one area of your body and then travels to another. This type of pain is called localized pain. The most common example of localized pain is a pinched nerve in the fingers. If the pinched nerve is in the neck, it could be referred to as neck pain, and if it is in the legs, it would be referred to as leg pain. The problem with localized pain is that often it is difficult to diagnose, and there is often no known cause for it.
Some forms of neuropathic pain are referred to as diffuse, acute, and complex. A diffuse pain lasts for a short period of time and is usually associated with an injury. On the other hand, acute pain may be long-lasting and result from chronic damage to a body part. Finally, complex pain is a type that is characterized by many symptoms, and which can only be diagnosed by extensive medical and radiological examinations.