Common Types of Pain

While pain may be hard to describe, there are several medical terms for common types of pain that your doctor will understand. You would do well to learn some medical terminology that helps you be more specific about your pain condition.

Types of Pain

Here are some of the more common medical terms used to describe different types of pain:

  • Inflammation
    Generally occurring around the joints, it involves stasis of fluids, which is the slowing or stoppage of fluids that may result in water retention; or reaction to stimuli such as sprain or strain. Heat syndromes, blood count changes and fluid deficiencies can all cause inflammation.
  • Swelling
    Occurs generally around the ankles or wrists; sometimes on the face or any part of the body. Its symptom is stasis (see Inflammation term above for explanation) and the affected area may either be hot and reddish or cold and whitish, depending on whether the swelling is due to heat or cold respectively.
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  • Numbness and Tingling
    Lack of circulation in the body causes this, when blood flow is deficient either from an external obstruction, or due to some anaemic or biological blood deficiency.
  • External causes can be attributed to compressed nerves from the spine, holding a limb in a fixed position too long, or sleeping on or resting against a limb for an extended period of time.
  • Heaviness and Stiffness
    Characterized by a dull and nagging sensation in the body, it’s an achy feeling that is made worse by cold and damp weather, and when circulation in slow such as in the morning hours. Affecting mostly the joints, neck and back, a temporarily relief can be obtained by hot showers or baths, which allows blood to circulate better.
  • Distending and Throbbing Pain
    A pressing and exploding pain that tends to beat in tandem with the pulse, it feels like something is pushing from the inside out. Mostly caused by qi or energy stagnation, explained as energy moving but going nowhere except up and down in one location. This creates a fixed pain that throbs and causes distension of the affected area.
  • Stabbing Pain
    Caused either by blood stasis (i.e. sluggishness) or both qi and blood stasis. Since blood promotes energy, and energy moves blood, stabbing pain generally includes problems with both. This pain is liken to a muscle spasm in the neck or shoulders that feels worse on pressure.
  • Dull Lingering Pain
    While not so severe, this pain doesn’t seem to go away and tends to get worse with exhaustion and when hunger is present, as the body is weakening and pain tolerance is lowered. Dull pain is caused by a general deficiency of energy and/or blood, such as after a lingering illness or injury. When their acute symptoms have subsided, migraine and sciatica sufferers often complain of a dull pain that lingers.

Now you know the correct words to describe clearly the different types of pain.

Tell The Doctor Your Pain, Clearly

Remember, the medical lingo you’ve just learned is very useful for describing various pain conditions. So next time when you visit your doctor for pain relief, use them to better communicate your problem.

Help your doctor help you, so that he or she can prescribe the best treatment to alleviate your pain quickly and effectively.

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