Types of Pain

The definition of pain according to the International Association for the Study of Pain, is “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience as a result of actual or potential tissue damage”.


Pain is both a physical and emotional experience.


Pain is 100% a response from the brain. Your brain concludes that the body tissue is in danger, or threatened and action is required ( Pain puts your system on red alert)


Types of Pain

  1. ACUTE and SUBACUTE PAIN: This type of pain has a known cause; it is useful and protective. It goes away in a reasonable length of time, definitely within a few months. It is directly related to issues (identifiable problems) in the tissues. It is a warning system in our body to take care of the problem with medication, rest or other appropriate measures. A good example of an acute problem is an ankle sprain, a lifting injury at work or cuts, scrapes and bruises.
  2. ACUTE, RECURRENT PAIN: has the same characteristics as acute pain but has recurrent flare-ups (i.e. Rheumatoid Arthritis). This is caused by recurrent issues in the tissue because of a specific condition.
  3. CHRONIC or PERSISTENT PAIN: This pain lasts for longer than three months, and the body is unable to return to its normal physiological function. It does not respond to treatment like acute pain. It no longer serves a useful purpose and it persists beyond the expected time for normal tissue healing. The intensity of the pain is related to the brain’s perception of the problem; there is minimal issues in the tissue. The tissues are often unhealthy and unfit, but are no longer damaged. They have healed tight and weak, which causes abnormal sensations to be registered in the brain. The brain interprets these sensations as problematic, and produces a pain reaction to protect the tissues.

Causes of Chronic or Persistent Pain

  • Pain is a very complex electrical and chemical response of the nervous system
  • Pain is influenced by every aspect of who we are:
  • Thoughts (How Do Our Thoughts Create Pain?)
  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Self-esteem
  • Emotions
  • Culture and customs
  • Past experiences
  • All pain is real pain
  • Pain is unique to every individual
  • You cannot prove that you have pain
  • Real pain can exist without any damage to the tissues
  • The intensity of the pain is not related to the severity of the injury