2. Common Types of chronic pain
Chronic pain usually falls into one of two categories:
Nociceptive pain is caused by damage to body tissue and usually described as a sharp, aching, or throbbing pain. This kind of pain can be due to benign pathology; or by tumors or cancer cells that are growing larger and crowding other body parts near the cancer site. Nociceptive pain may also be caused by cancer spreading to the bones, muscles, or joints, or that causes the blockage of an organ or blood vessels.
Neuropathic pain occurs when there is actual nerve damage. Nerves connect the spinal cord to the rest of the body and allow the brain to communicate with the skin, muscles and internal organs. Nutritional imbalance, alcoholism, toxins, infections or auto-immunity can all damage this pathway and cause pain. Neuropathic pain can also be caused by a cancer tumor pressing on a nerve or a group of nerves. People often describe this pain as a burning or heavy sensation, or numbness along the path of the affected nerve.
Cancer Pain can be nociceptive or neuropathic.
Chronic pain is generally associated with one of the following areas:
Chronic back or leg pain
Chronic back or leg pain may be the result of spinal diseases such as arachnoiditis, degenerative disc disease, epidural fibrosis, failed back surgery syndrome, lumbar disc herniation, osteoporosis and spinal stenosis. Back pain is often located in the lower back, but may extend to the thighs, calves, and even feet. Affected areas may feel tender or sore to the touch, and the pain may increase with movement. This type of pain can be felt as a sharp pain, a burning sensation, or a dull muscular ache - and can range from mildly uncomfortable to completely disabling.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
CRPS usually develops in the foot or hand after surgery, injury such as a broken bone, or as a result of nerve damage. The term actually describes two painful syndromes - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS type I) and Causalgia (CRPS Type II). The overriding symptom is extreme pain, frequently described as burning. Other symptoms can include sensitivity to touch, skin changes, swelling, weakness, and decreased function of the affected hand or foot.
This term covers a variety of neurological disorders resulting from damage to the nerves. The common symptoms include pain, burning, weakness and numbness, and these most often appear in the hands or feet. Painful neuropathies may originally be caused by nutritional imbalances, alcoholism, toxins, infections, or autoimmunity, or may be the result of illnesses such as kidney failure or cancer. Treatment will usually focus on the underlying disease or condition if it is known.