The 3 major types of pain3

Pain due to tissue damage3
Pain due to nerve damage3
Referred pain3

TYPES OF PAIN

Pain can affect any part of your body. Some of the most common forms of pain include back and neck pain, joint pain, headaches, pain from nerve damage and pain from an injury.4

Pain due to injury begins at special pain receptors scattered throughout the body. These pain receptors transmit signals as electrical impulses along nerves to the spinal cord and then upwards to the brain. Sometimes the signal evokes a reflex response, e.g. when you touch something hot, you immediately pull away. Pain receptors and their nerve pathways differ in different parts of the body. For this reason, pain sensation varies with the type and location of the injury.3

Pain due to tissue damage

Pain due to tissue damage is caused by an injury to body tissues. Most pain, particularly acute pain, is due to tissue damage. It results from stimulation of pain receptors for tissue injury (nociceptors), which are located mostly in the skin or in internal organs. This type of pain is typically aching, sharp, or throbbing, but it may be dull.3,8

Pain due to nerve damage

Pain due to nerve damage results from damage to or dysfunction of the brain or spinal cord (central nervous system) or the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nervous system).3 Damage to one or more peripheral or spinal nerves can happen as a result of an accident, infection, surgery or disease. The damaged nerves will misfire and send pain signals spontaneously, rather than in response to an injury. Pain due to nerve damage is often described as burning, freezing, numbing or tingling. It can also create a “pins and needles” sensation.4

Referred Pain

Sometimes pain felt in one area of the body does not accurately represent where the problem is because the pain is referred there from another area. Pain can be referred because signals from several areas of the body often travel through the same nerve pathways in the spinal cord and brain. For example, pain from a heart attack pain produced by a heart attack may feel as if it is coming from the arm. Pain from a gallbladder attack may be felt in the back of the shoulder.3