Nociceptive vs Neuropathic Pain

From the time you were a child running around the playground to the time you were an adult dragging yourself out of bed, pain is something that almost every person has come to know as a way of life. There are the aches of minor pains and the constant sensation of chronic pains, but did you know that there are different kinds? There are two main types of pain – nociceptive and neuropathic. But, what is nociceptive pain, and how is it different than neuropathic?

What is nociceptive pain?

Nociceptive pain is the most common type of pain and is caused by potentially harmful stimuli being detected by nociceptors around the body. Nociceptors are the types of receptors that identify things that could harm the body either from mechanical or physical damage. Nociceptors can also detect chemical and thermal damages. The most common injuries detected by nociceptors include:

  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Overuse damage – like arthritis or sprains

What is neuropathic pain?

You may be able to guess by its name, but neuropathic pain is the damage done to the body’s neurological system. Injuries related to neuropathic pain are generally described as shooting pain, and recipients sometimes feel a burning sensation along the path of their affected nerve. Common illnesses related to neuropathic pain include:

Nociceptive vs Neuropathic Pain

While nociceptive pain often produces physical indications that can be seen by people not experiencing the pain, neuropathic pain is all interior, and only the person experiencing the pain knows where it occurs – at least without further testing. Nociceptive pain is often more temporary. You receive a bruise from banging your knee on the coffee table, it’s sore and likely produces light swelling, but after a few days the pain subsides and you’re back to normal. Meanwhile, neuropathic pain often lasts longer and in some cases is more permanent. It’s also associated with underlying illnesses and is usually a symptom rather than a cause in itself.

Nociceptive Pain Treatment

The proper ways to treat nociceptive pain depend on the severity of the injury and the cause. From a simple ice and relaxation routine to the more extensive physical therapy suggestion, a doctor will be able to determine the best course of recovery for your injury. Other treatments may include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Changes to your medications
  • Surgical procedures
  • Alternative therapy – including acupuncture

Diagnosing Nociceptive Pain

If your pain is mild, like a bump or bruise that is painful to the touch, you can likely treat your injury at home or simply ignore it until it subsides. But, if your pain is uncomfortable or severe, you should visit an orthopedic doctor who specializes in interventional pain management. Your doctor will ask you some questions about your pain – including the severity on a scale of one to 10, the location, the sensation, and other inquiries to determine the type of pain you’re experiencing. Then, they’ll supply you with an interventional pain management plan to help you feel better.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If pain is making life uncomfortable, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.