Are You Experiencing Nociceptive Pain?

Are You Experiencing Nociceptive Pain?

Being in any type of pain can significantly impact both your physical and your mental health. Understanding what’s causing your pain and the type of pain you have may make it easier to deal with your situation.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, specializes in uncovering the root cause of unexplained pain. Dr. Bo also has extensive experience in using innovative pain management strategies to improve your quality of life.

Understanding pain types

There are two main types of physical pain – neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain.

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain describes pain that results from damage or dysfunction in your nervous system. This type of pain is often chronic and may be the result of underlying diseases like cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

Nociceptive pain

Nociceptive pain typically develops from specific stimuli, such as cuts or abrasions. This type of pain is very common and generally acute. It also tends to improve as your body starts to heal.

A closer look at nociceptive pain

Nociceptors are specialized nerve cells in the body that help protect you from danger. For instance, when you touch a hot surface, these nerve cells send out warning signals to your brain that trigger momentary pain, so you can react appropriately.

Other types of injuries or diseases that cause nociceptive pain includes:

When these stimuli activate the nociceptors in your body, electrical signals move through your peripheral and central nervous systems to your brain. The brain then translates the signals, causing you to feel pain in and around the injured area.

Types of nociceptive pain

Most cases of back pain, leg pain, and neck pain are a type of nociceptive pain. This pain is further broken down into two categories – somatic and radicular.

Somatic pain

Somatic pain develops when pain receptors are activated in your soft tissues or bone and you can feel localized pain with movements. Common examples of somatic pain include headaches and acute pain from cuts in your skin.

Radicular pain

Radicular pain develops when there’s irritation in your nerve roots. This type of pain can travel down into your arms and legs along the length of the nerve. A common type of radicular pain is radiculopathy, a condition when a nerve in your spine is compressed by inflammation or other spinal irregularities.

The compressed nerve causes pain that radiates out from your spine and down into your arms or legs. You may also experience symptoms like weakness, tingling, and numbness anywhere along the nerve.

Treatment options for nociceptive pain

Because nociceptive pain generally lessens as you heal, you may not always need medical treatment for this type of pain. However, it’s possible that your pain will become chronic and interfere with your ability to stay active.

Dr. Bo recommends scheduling a diagnostic evaluation if you have pain that worsens even with rest and over-the-counter medications. He can determine the type of pain you have and its underlying cause and create a pain management plan to increase your comfort.

To treat persistent back pain, neck pain, or other types of nociceptive pain, Dr. Bo may recommend prescription pain relievers or anti-inflammatories. He also offers epidural injections that deliver steroids directly into your spine for maximum pain relief.

In addition to medications, you may also benefit from heat or ice therapy, physical therapy, and at-home exercises you can do to strengthen your spine.

To find out more about the available treatment options for nociceptive pain, call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office nearest you to schedule a consultation or book one online today. 

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