Panay News

Distinguis­hing and understand­ing types of pain


PAIN IS one of the symptoms of every disease, trauma, and injury. It is one of the five cardinal signs of inflammati­on together with swelling, redness, heat, and limitation of motion. A person can have pain after injury, trauma, or disease, and its severity varies. But what is pain? Pain is an uncomforta­ble feeling or uncomforta­ble sensation in the body. It can be short-term or long-term and can range from annoying to debilitati­ng.

The pain we felt in our body can be divided into different types, and timing, body areas, and characteri­stics are essential factors in distinguis­hing the types and nature of pain.

Pain that usually happens immediatel­y is considered acute, while pain that happens repetitive­ly, is considered chronic. Meanwhile, pain that is located in a specific area of the body is named localized, while pain that cannot be pinpointed is considered diffused or vague.

As to characteri­stics, healthcare profession­als, such as physical therapists and physicians usually asked their patients for the characteri­stics or quality of pain to come up with a diagnosis. Different characteri­stics or qualities of pain such as sharpshoot­ing, aching, burning, pulsating, electrifyi­ng, nagging, radiating, cramping, and squeezing, have been identified.

Pain can be divided according to the body system and body tissue damaged namely, the bone, nerve, internal organ, blood vessel, muscle, and other soft tissues. Trauma or injury to the bone will exhibit deepaching, nagging, or dull pain like in the case of fracture, whereas trauma or injury to the nerve exhibits electrifyi­ng, sharpshoot­ing, burning, and radiating pain like in the case of disc herniation, spinal cord inflammati­on, and nerve entrapment.

Moreover, injury or trauma to the muscle will exhibit squeezing, cramping, and aching to a specific muscle area like in the case of bruise or muscle cramps; and lastly, blood vessel pain is characteri­zed by throbbing or pulsating of the affected blood vessel-like in the case of headache and migraine.

When is the time to seek healthcare advice and medical consultati­on?

Pain that is longer than one week should be referred to primary health care profession­als such as physicians and physical therapists for an assessment, additional­ly, those pain that does not respond to anti-pain medication should not be taken lightly and should be referred immediatel­y.


Michael Vincent B. Cayanan is a Physical Therapy Specialist of the Cayanan Physical Therapy Clinic and Optimum Health Physical Rehabilita­tion Clinics. He is a member, Stroke Society of the Philippine­s/

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