The Causes and Meanings Behind Different Varieties of Pain

Pain comes in all shapes and sizes, and affects all of us in different ways. Most people assume that you only have pain when you have suffered an injury, however, pain can be due to infection, disease or an emotional disorder. Here we talk about the two types of pain with the particular symptoms related to the type of pain.

Acute Pain

This type of pain occurs as a result of an injury and tends to disappear when the injury has healed. In particular, acute pain is linked with injuries to the tissues of the body, whilst anxiety is commonly seen alongside acute pain. We talk about acute muscle injuries and their treatments here. You may suffer from acute pain following invasive surgeries, a strain of a muscle or a collision to name a few examples.

Symptoms of Acute Pain:

  • There is a known site of pain that is easily located
  • Sharp pain
  • A sense of burning around the area of pain
  • Cramping
  • Aching
  • A feeling of pressure
Acute muscle injury

Chronic Pain

We talk briefly about chronic pain here, but we will go into more depth regarding chronic pain. So this type of pain will last beyond the healing period of the injury, whilst the pain can be vague in nature with no indication on the source of the pain. Depression is commonly seen in patients suffering from chronic pain. This can then be subdivided into three types; neuropathic, non-neuropathic or unknown.

Back pain

Neuropathic Chronic Pain – This is usually caused by an injury to a nerve. You will often had tingling, numbness or a burning sensation whilst it is difficult to treat. Examples of the common reasons for neuropathic chronic pain are; diabetic neuropathy whereby the high blood sugar has caused nerve damage, pain from a viral illness, shingles or a peripheral vascular disease. Symptoms are:

  • Painful itching
  • Strange sensations
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch and temperature
  • Burning sensation
  • A painful numbness
  • Pins and needles

Non-neuropathic Chronic Pain – This is a pain that is not caused by an injury to a nerve. The most common reasons for this kind of pain is lower back pain, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms for this are:

  • Lack of location with the pain, may be unable to pinpoint the exact location of pain
  • Gnawing feeling
  • Pounding
  • Deep aching pain

Unknown: There are many causes of chronic pain that are neither neuropathic nor non-neuropathic in category. Symptoms can include a mixture of the symptoms outlined previously. Some possible causes of an unknown chronic pain are:

  • Fibromyalgia syndrome
  • Tension headache
  • Migraines
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Treatment for these types of pain will vary from patient to patient. Not one treatment plan should be the same. You can help prevent the onset of these types of pain through regular exercise and maintaining a healthy balanced diet whilst maintaining a healthy weight.

If you have any of these symptoms book in now so that we can get you back pain free doing what you love.


Why do I suffer from pain in my muscles following exercise?

No matter how well prepared for an activity we can often find ourselves feeling stiff or sore 1-2 days following activity. This is called delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS); this explained is simply the damage of muscle fibres and inflammation following unaccustomed intense exercise.

DOMS commonly occurs in sports and movements that use eccentric contractions more so than concentric contractions. Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle lengthens under load, for example, a footballer trying to change direction quickly will eccentrically contract the quadriceps to maintain stability. Eccentric contraction produces a force over a smaller cross-sectional area of the muscle, this is due to the smaller motor unit recruitment during this contraction.

Following a bout of vigorous exercise, DOMS is likely to occur unless you have developed your training programme to build up intensity over time. However, there are ways that you can help yourself. Firstly, having a sports massage can help; this increases the circulation of blood to the area, whilst an active recovery can also help. What you will find is that pain will increase 24-hours following exercise, with this pain usually peaking around 48-hours post exercise.

You can become more accustomed to the demands of your activity through training. It is key that you understand this is a natural process to occur and is actually a good sign. This muscle soreness represents the muscle becoming stronger than its previous state in response to an effective training session.

If you would like a sports massage to aid your recovery from DOMS, feel free to book in so we can help you be pain free.