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Definition & Types of Pain – Patient and Family Resources

Patient information on what pain is and the many types of pain.

Defining Pain

How your body processes pain

  • Learn how your body processes pain from the initial feeling of pain to the key areas of the brain it affects.

Understanding pain

  • Find information on acute vs. chronic pain, the causes of pain, the pain pathway, and the impact of pain.

How The Brain Shapes Pain and Links Ouch With Emotion

  • A podcast on how the brain shapes pain both physically and psychologically.

Chronic Pain

  • Learn what chronic pain is, what causes it, what are the symptoms, what problems can chronic pain causes, how is it diagnosed and treated.

Types of Pain

Types of Pain

  • Access information on the following different types of pain:

Chronic pain

  • Learn about how chronic pain occurs, and why chronic pain sometimes lingers.

Nerve pain

  • When nerve fibers get damaged, the result can be chronic pain. Read about the very common causes of neuropathic pain, like diabetes.

Psychogenic pain

  • Depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems can cause pain — or make existing pain worse.

Musculoskeletal pain

  • Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Chronic muscle pain

  • Use your muscles incorrectly, too much, too little — and you’ve got muscle pain. Learn the subtle differences of muscle injuries and pain.

Abdominal pain

  • Learn common causes of abdominal pain and when to contact your doctor.

Joint pain

  • See the causes of joint pain and how to treat it with both home remedies and prescribed medication.

Central pain syndrome

  • A stroke, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries can result in chronic pain and burning syndromes from damage to brain regions. Read this brief overview.

Complex regional pain syndrome

  • It’s a baffling, intensely painful disorder that can develop from a seemingly minor injury, yet is believed to result from high levels of nerve impulses being sent to the affected disorder. Learn more about this disorder.

Diabetes-related nerve pain (neuropathy)

  • If you have diabetes, nerve damage can be a serious complication. This nerve complication can cause severe burning pain especially at night. Learn more about diabetic neuropathy.


Shingles pain (postherpetic neuralgia)

  • Shingles is a painful condition that arises from varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors.

Trigeminal neuralgia

  • It’s considered one of the most painful conditions in medicine. The face pain it causes can be treated. Learn more about what causes trigeminal neuralgia and treatments for face pain caused by it.

For more information on the definitions of and types of pain, tailored toward providers: