Pain is not visible
- Because the transmission and modulation of activity occurs in the nerves, both in the periphery and the central nervous system – it is difficult to see what is happening in the body, or to identify on X-rays or scans. This can add to further confusion about what is happening.
- Pain does not just occur at the site of the injury or where the stimulus occurs. Pain is a sensation that is related to a variety of factors, including how our brain interprets the messages that tell us that something hurts, and the meaning that we give to our sense that something is hurting or is injured.
- Acute pain – usually results from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. This type of pain generally comes on suddenly, for example, after trauma or surgery, and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain is self-limiting, that is, it is confined to a given period of time and severity. In some rare instances, it can become chronic.
- Chronic Pain – persists beyond the acute stage of an injury. Some say that chronic pain is that which persists for say 6 to 12 weeks after an injury. The signals in the body that alert us that something is hurting, keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.
- There may have been an initial accident of injury such as a sprained back, a serious infection, or an ongoing cause of pain such as arthritis. Some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or any evidence of damage to the body.
- Some find that trying harder to do things, or that despite increasing their levels of activity, more discomfort or even severe pain is experienced.
- This can occur as increasing activity in the nervous system may occur, causing increased activation of pain pathways, rather than
- control of the pain and dampening of the messages.