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The Different Types of Pain and the Pain Mechanisms

As some of you know, Greg’s has over 100,000 clinical hours. His work on pain was a big part of these hours. Below is just a snippet of the books of notes he has on the subject. So, for us it’s a lot of good info and there’s always more. 


Pain is the number one reason people seek medical attention in developed countries. 

Pain can be the primary symptom, or a secondary symptom associated with a medical condition. Pain directly impacts “Quality of Life “. There are several types of pain which are defined for more effective treatment. Psychological pain can have manifestations as physical and should be addressed in any multi-faceted strategy for healing. The extreme form of this would be referred to as a psychosomatic condition.


Pain that lasts for less than 30 days is referred as acute pain. Example: a sprained ankle or strained back. Pain that lasts for more than 30 days is referred to as chronic pain. There are several different theories concerning this matter, but the standard used here will be 30 days for the term “chronic”.


Pain is usually transient and can fluctuate depending on several factors. The presence of sharp, shooting pain usually refers to nerve pain while dull, achy pain is associated with soft tissue.

Types of Pain

To understand the types of pain, and find Essential Oils that help with those specific types of pain, please refer to these posts with more details about the types of pain

Acute Pain / Injury: Pain caused by an injury, strain, sprain, or spasms. 

Nociceptive Pain: Characterized by dull achy pain which is caused by muscular strain and lymphatic congestion.

Neuropathic Pain: Commonly described as “pins and needles,” tingling, electrical, stabbing, burning sensations due to due to the nerve being compromised either by disease, injury, or other damage.

Degenerative Pain: Pain caused by arthritic conditions, compromised joints, bone on bone, thinning cartilage, spurring, rheumatoid arthritis, and pre-arthritic conditions.

Psychogenic Pain: Pain that is aggravated by prolonged psychological factors such as stress, agitation, anxiety, anger, etc.

Inflammatory Pain / Pathological Pain: This type of pain is due to chronic inflammation which is inflammation that has been present for longer than 30 days or due to acute injury.

Breakthrough Pain: An acute, transitory pain that arises in a person who is already managing some form of pain.

Incident Pain: This type of pain is caused by movement and activity of a body part that is already compromised.

Phantom Pain: Pain in part of the body that is no longer present.

Originally published in the Plant Prana Newsletter May 23, 2022

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