Outlining 3 Types of pain
We commonly treat pain without its definition. This is because a majority of pain patients (over 90%) will have their pain resolve and be fully functioning within eight weeks.
However, in some cases pain persists and is not responsive to medication, massage, traditional physiotherapy, or other treatments. Additional angst and frustration can be caused when medical examination does not yield any meaningful diagnosis.
Pain is commonly misunderstood, because traditional medical diagnosis presumes that pain is only caused by a signal from an injured tissue to the central nervous system. This is true, in part.
Three types of pain: Nociception, Inflammation, and Neuropathy.
- Nociception – this type of mechanical pain occurs when you stub your toe, where the immediate response of the body is to convey a signal from the injured tissue to your brain.
- Inflammation – this type of chemical pain occurs in an acute ankle sprain, where there is a local response in the injured cells resulting in redness, heat, swelling and loss of function.
- Neuropathy or Radiculopathic Pain – this type of pain is ongoing with no obvious signs of injury and is caused by suboptimal performance of the peripheral nervous system as it exits the spinal column, leading to super-sensitivity and chronically shortened muscles.
The central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) are well protected by the spine and skull. However, the peripheral nervous system (the nerves leaving the spinal column) is much more vulnerable to damage, often due to age related changes.
Characteristics of Neuropathic Pain:
- There is pain in the absence of ongoing tissue damage.
- There is a delay in the onset of pain after a precipitating injury.
- Mild stimuli are very painful.
- There may be a stabbing component.
- Pronounced summation and after-reaction from stimuli (ie. the pain gets worse with exercise).
This in part, can explain why you may feel fine after a car accident, but develop whiplash 2 weeks later. Neuropathic based persistent pain could be caused by chronic muscle shortening producing pain by the extra force it puts pulling on tendons, joints and other structures. Constant strain can press on and irritate nerves, leading to a condition now recognized as super-sensitivity.
The significance of categorizing neuropathic pain is that disorders such as low back pain, whiplash, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and Achilles heel are potentially all physiologically the same and may have a neuropathic component.
Treating Neuropathy with Intramuscular Stimulation Needling (IMS)
IMS uses acupuncture needles to help penetrate deep within muscle tissues to help release contracted and shortened muscle fibres, provide pain relief and improve muscle and neurological functioning. Each treatment relaxes shortened muscles, stimulates healing and desensitizes the irritated nerves.
Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment tool for some acute conditions and chronic pain, where medication, massage, traditional physiotherapy, osteopathy, or chiropractic treatments have not given lasting relief. Persistent pain could be caused by chronic muscle shortening producing pain by the extra force it puts pulling on tendons, joints and other structures. Constant strain can press on and irritate nerves, leading to a condition now recognized as super-sensitivity.
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