Everything you need to know about Nociceptive Pain

You may have heard of nociceptive pain from your doctor or online, but very rarely is this term used in everyday life. In this guide, we’ll go over the different types, symptoms, and treatment options for nociceptive pain and how your PPOA clinic can help you recover.

Nociceptive pain is simply any pain that occurs after physical injury or due to inflammation internally. It is a pain you feel when you stub your toe, when inflammation in a joint causes arthritis, or when a kidney stone travels through your bladder. 

This type of pain is detected by nociceptors or the nerves that detect acute pain due to abrasion, swelling, or inflammation. This is different from neuropathic pain, caused by sensitivity or dysfunction of the nerves. Neuropathic pain includes chronic conditions like phantom limb pain (dysfunction) or cancer (sensitivity) pain, but acute injuries like nociceptive pain do not necessarily cause these. 

Types of Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is put into two categories: somatic and visceral. Somatic pain includes pain from the limbs and exterior of your body, while visceral pain comes from the organs. Examples of both include: 

  • Somatic pain – A broken bone, a rash, or arthritis in a joint
  • Visceral pain – A stomachache, a heart attack, or a kidney stone

Chronic Nociceptive Pain

In most cases, nociceptive pain goes away when the injury is healed. While this may take several days or weeks, the pain goes away once the tissue damage or inflammation is resolved. However, a prolonged recovery or repetitive injury can cause chronic nociceptive pain. 

The longevity of the injury makes these nerves more sensitive over time. This leads to pain that doesn’t disappear even when the wound is healed. Common chronic nociceptive pain conditions include arthritis, fibromyalgia, and pelvic pain.

How Is Nociceptive Pain Treated?

In most cases, nociceptive pain is treated by treating the underlying condition and supplementing with temporary pain relievers. If you break your arm, your doctor will set the fractured bone and provide pain medication for the initial shock. However, once the bone is healed, the pain will subside. Other options for complex or chronic nociceptive primary include: 

  • Physical therapy to strengthen the injured muscles or joints
  • Pain medications to alleviate intense or prolonged pain
  • Medical procedures to block nerve receptions
  • Surgeries or other medical procedures to treat underlying conditions
  • Alternative medicine options such as yoga o mindfulness meditation

Nociceptive pain disrupts our lives temporarily, but it should never go on forever without treatment. If you are experiencing chronic pain after an injury, contact your local PPOA clinic to learn about your treatment options.