Distinguishing different types of pain

  • Nociceptive or somatic pain (from usual sensory receptors in the body, acute pain): aching, pressure, throbbing.
  • Neuropathic (from damaged nervous tissue, often described as electric or shooting or burning pain, chronic—common cause: diabetes).
  • Inflammatory (nociceptive pain specifically because of mediators causing tissue inflammation).

Treatment by type of pain:

  • Nocioceptive: Acetaminophen, NSAIDS, steroids
  • Neuropathic: antidepressant or anticonvulsant drugs
  • Inflammatory: NSAIDS or steroids

Treatment by site:

  • Bone pain from cancer metastases is both nocioceptive and neuropathic.
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Version 1. February 1, 2019