17 Categories of Pain

Learning Objectives

Be able to define nociceptive pain and give an example.

Be able to define inflammatory pain and give an example.

Be able to define neuropathic pain and give an example.

There are three types of pain.

Nociceptive pain is mediated by cutaneous receptors which detect heat, cold, severe force and chemical insult.

  • Medical term that describes pain from physical or potential damage to the body
  • Examples: pain felt from sports injuries, dental procedures, or arthritis

Inflammatory pain happens when immune responses activate nociceptors in response to injury. Pain associated with tumors and post-injury swelling are examples of inflammatory pain.

  • An increased sensitivity due to an immune inflammatory response
  • Examples: pain, redness, or swelling caused by a cut, bump, and any injuries ranging from minor to major

Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system itself (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatic nerve pain).

  • Associated with abnormal sensations or pain from non-painful stimuli
  • Examples: phantom limb, neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, central pain syndrome
Red Advil pills are scattered on a white surface
Fig. 2.8.1. Advil Pills. Advil is a common over the counter drug that helps with inflammatory pain. (Credit: Tony Webster. Provided by: Flickriver. License: CC-BY 2.0)


Figure 2.8.2. Nociceptive pain is demonstrated here when pain signals are activated by the impaling nail in the skin and then these signals are sent to the central nervous system. (Credit: Manu5. Provided by Openverse. License CC BY-SA 4.0.)


Cheryl Olman PSY 3031 Detailed Outline
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Introduction to Sensation and Perception Copyright © 2022 by Students of PSY 3031 and Edited by Dr. Cheryl Olman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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