Take Control of Your Pain Today!
Take Control of Your Pain Today!

Take Control of Your Pain Today!

Pain is complex and highly subjective. No one knows your pain better than you, but this makes it difficult to manage. So, it's very important for everyone to understand


People feel pain when specific nerves called nociceptors detect tissue damage and transmit information about the damage along the spinal cord to the brain. For example, touching a hot surface will send a message through a reflex arc in the spinal cord and cause an immediate contraction of the muscles.

acute pain may result from: injuries such as cuts, burns, muscle strains, or bone fractures. illnesses such as food poisoning, strep throat, or appendicitis. medical procedures such as injections, dental work, or surgery.

There are 3 widely accepted pain types relevant for musculoskeletal pain: Nociceptive pain (including nociceptive inflammatory pain) Neuropathic pain. Nociplastic pain.


Nociceptive Pain: Typically the result of tissue injury. ...

Inflammatory Pain: An abnormal inflammation caused by an inappropriate response by the body's immune system. ...

Neuropathic Pain: Pain caused by nerve irritation. ...

Functional Pain: Pain without obvious origin, but can cause pain.


Nociceptive Pain: Typically the result of tissue injury. Common types of nociceptive pain are arthritis pain, mechanical back pain, or post-surgical pain.

Inflammatory Pain: An abnormal inflammation caused by an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system. Conditions in this category include gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

Neuropathic Pain: Pain caused by nerve irritation. This includes conditions such as neuropathy, radicular pain, and trigeminal neuralgia.

Functional Pain: Pain without obvious origin, but can cause pain. Examples of such conditions are fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Now that you are familiar with the four categories of pain, here are some helpful ways you can describe your pain to your medical team. This communication will assist them in their diagnosis and treatment of your condition. Since there is an array of treatment options unique to addressing specific types of pain, it is important to target the type of pain you are experiencing. Be sure to work together with your medical team using the criteria below.


Provocation and Palliation: What were you doing at the onset? What provokes it, what alleviates it?

Quality/Quantity: What does the pain feel like and how often? Is it sharp, dull, stabbing, crushing, throbbing, nauseating?

Region/Radiation: Where is the pain located? To be specific, point to the location of the pain or draw it on the diagram. Does it radiate anywhere? If so, where and to what side? Is it equal if both sides are involved? The more specific you can be the better.

Severity Scale: How much does it hurt on a scale from 1-10?

Timing: Does the severity or character of the pain change based on time of day, activity, weather, time of year, or position?

Acute pain, if not properly addressed, can become chronic pain through a process called sensitization. Sensitization is a result of repeated exposure to a stimulus resulting in an increased response to that stimulus. Chronic pain, or pain lasting more than twelve weeks, can be persistent and becomes more difficult to treat. Most pain can successfully be treated by multimodality or combined approach based on the type or types of pain involved. So whether your pain is acute or chronic, schedule a consultation with our team here at Virginia Spine Institute. We’ll put a name to your pain and get you back on the road to recovery!

Deep somatic pain occurs when stimuli activate pain receptors deeper in the body including tendons, joints, bones, and muscles. Deep somatic pain usually feels more like “aching” than superficial somatic pain.

When should you see a doctor for pain?

Typically, both somatic and visceral pain will subside within a few days. However, if you experience severe pain or persistent pain for at least week, you should see your doctor. They will ask you about your symptoms, where the pain is, how bad it is, how often it occurs, and what affects it. When seeing your doctor, it is important to provide them with the following information:

how long you have had the pain

when you started experiencing the pain

the intensity of the pain

where you feel the pain

your medical history

They will then put your symptoms in the context of your medical history and other health problems you may have. Oftentimes, a doctor will also run objective tests such as lab analyses and physical exams.

After reviewing your symptoms and other factors, a doctor will provide you with a treatment plan. This may include seeing a specialist to deal with the underlying cause, such as orthopedist for joint pain or gastroenterologist for a stomach issue. They may also recommend that you see a pain management doctor.


Pain is complex and highly subjective. Therefore, treating pain can be a bit tricky. Doctors treat both somatic and visceral pain by addressing the underlying cause(s) of pain. For example, if someone is experiencing osteoarthritis, a doctor might prescribe one of several medications to reduce symptoms.

Somatic pain

Doctors will often use drugs to treat somatic pain. Over-the-counter medications you can take include:

NSAIDs, such as aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil)

acetaminophen (Tylenol)

More severe forms of pain can be treated using prescription medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications like:


cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)


opioids, including hydrocodone and oxycodone

It is important to be very careful with these medications as they are addictive. Doctors, especially orthopedists and rheumatologists, may use injections to treat pain in the joints and bones.

Visceral pain

Doctors sometimes use pain-reliving drugs to treat visceral pain as well. However, because visceral pain is less defined and more spread out, it is harder to pinpoint the exact medication that will help. Additionally, some medications such as NSAIDs can cause stomach issues. As researchers learn more about visceral pain, new methods will be developed to treat it.


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