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29 Types of Pain and Causes

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There are many types of pain that some individuals experience on a regular basis, while others may experience at different times.

Here we’ll simply look at 30 types and learn how they are caused. But before we go ahead, let us look at the definition of pain.


Pain can be defined as an unpleasant feeling that can be sensory, physical and emotional, as a result of actual or potential tissue damage, and/or intense or damaging stimuli.

The physical or sensory experience is often interpreted as being throbbing, burning, sharp, and stabbing. While emotional is described as stress, fear, and anxiety, just highlight a few.

Pain acts to alert the body that something is wrong, and that it needs to react and prevent the uncomfortable physical, sensory and emotional experience

29 Types of Pain

1. Post-Surgical Pain

Post – surgical pain is pain that occurs when your body is trying to healing itself or specific parts of the body such as internal organs are trying to return to original positions and functions.

The pain can be in different forms such as muscle spasm from back surgery, or cramping pain from abdominal surgery.

2. Pain from Kidney Stones

Pain from kidney stones is usually felt when the kidney stones start to move around in the kidney or the ureter.

3. Chronic Lower-Back Pain

Chronic lower-back pain is experienced by many, and lower back pain is felt by almost everyone at some time during their lives.

Chronic low back pain may be caused by diseases such as cancer of the spinal cord, kidney infections, a ruptured or herniated disc, arthritis, and so on.

4. Peripheral Neuropathy Pain

Neuropathy pain is linked to nerve problems such as spinal stenosis and injuries to brain or spinal cord.

Peripheral neuropathic pain is caused by damage to your peripheral nerves. This can affect many parts of your body such as the hands and feet, where you may feel weakness and numbness.

Disturbance to the peripheral nerves can be caused by diabetes mellitus, trauma, metabolic problems, exposure to toxins, etc.

5. Pain from Cancer

In many cases, pain from cancer occurs when the tumor pushes on bones, nerves or other parts of your body.

Sometimes pain is caused by cancer treatment itself. For example, chemotherapy drugs such as vinca alkaloids (vincristine), paclitaxel, and the podophyllotoxins (etoposide and tenoposide) can cause pain and tingling feeling.

6. Postherpetic Neuralgia Pain or Pain from Shingles

Postherpetic neuralgia pain or pain from shingles is regarded as a complication of shingles, which affects nerve fibers and the skin.

7. Interstitial Cystitis Pain or Painful Bladder Syndrome

Interstitial cystitis pain or painful bladder syndrome mainly affects women, and causes bladder and sometimes pelvic pain.

It is primarily caused by the bladder not functioning well.

8. Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain

Trigeminal neuralgia pain results from negative effects to the trigeminal nerve. Because the trigeminal nerve carries sensory information from the face to the brain, just brushing your teeth or putting on makeup can result in you feeling excruciating pain when trigeminal neuralgia happens.

9. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is normally caused by injury. It is thought to be as a result of interruption to the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has two types – CRPS-I for individuals without confirmed nerve injury, and CRPS-II for individuals with confirmed nerve injury.

10. Pain from Injuries

Pain from injuries are caused by various happenings such as a sprained ankle, bruise, broken bone, fever, infection, menstrual cramps, etc.

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11. Foot Pain

Foot pain is of various types such as plantar fasciitis – pain in your heel, heel spurs on your heel, and stone bruise in the deep part of heel or ball of the foot.

Foot pain is normally caused by injuries and inflammation relating to any bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot.

12. Tendinitis Pain

Tendinitis pain occurs when your tendons are irritated or inflamed.

13. Pain from Ganglion Cyst

Pain from ganglion cyst usually occurs when the cyst presses on a nearby nerve and can interfere with your joint movement.

A cyst is normally a pea-size (about 2.5 cm) lump that is noncancerous. It generally develops along the tendons or joints of your wrists, hands, ankles and feet.

Arthritis pain is derived from degenerative conditions and inflammation in the joints.

Osteoarthritis is one of the common types of arthritis that gets worse as you age because of wear and tear.

14. Pain from Diabetes

Pain from diabetes is commonly caused by poorly managed blood sugar over a period of time causing nerve damage.

15. Pain from Gout

Pain from gout occurs when the affected joint becomes swollen, warm to touch and red.

Gout is commonly found on the big toe, but can also be seen in other joints such as knee, wrist, elbow, instep and fingers.

16. Pain from Cluster Headaches

Pain from cluster headaches are caused by bouts of frequent headaches known as cluster periods.

17. Pain from Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis

Pain from frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis occurs when the capsule (the encasement for ligaments, tendons and bones that forms the shoulder joint) gets thicker and tighter, so reducing movement of the shoulder.

18. Pain from Broken Bones

Pain from broken bones are caused by bones fracturing, breaking or cracking from blows and falls that result in irritated nerves, swelling (edema) and/or muscle spasms.

19. Pain from Slipped (Herniated) Disc

Pain from slipped (herniated) disc results when the disc protrudes through the outer ring in the spinal column and pushes onto the spinal nerve. This protruding is caused by the weakening or injuring of the disc.

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20. Pain from Sickle Cell Disease

Pain from sickle cell disease is caused when the irregular shaped sickle cells block blood flow through the tiny blood vessels.

21. Pain from Migraine

Pain from migraine is caused by physiological changes in the brain that leads to a severe headache. These changes may be linked to being sensitive to smell, sound and light.

22. Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain is caused by disturbance to the sciatic nerve in the leg. This interruption can be as a result of lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

23. Appendicitis Pain

Appendicitis pain is caused by the obstruction and/or inflammation of the appendix. This disturbance to the appendix may be as a result of fecal matter blocking the appendix, diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and various infections by organisms such as adenovirus, cytomegalovirus, and species - mycobacteria, Yersinia, Histoplasma and Schistosoma.

24. Acute Pancreatitis Pain

Acute pancreatitis pain is caused by the pancreas being inflamed. This swelling is as a result of the digestive enzymes being released by the pancreas, and then starting to function before they get into the small intestine, so attacking the pancreas.

25. Pain from Endometriosis

Pain from endometriosis happens when the tissue that is normally inside the uterus, begins to grow into the other parts of the body and starts to break down.

26. Pain from Peptic Ulcer

Pain from peptic ulcer is caused by a break or erosion of the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum that goes deep into the lining, and may result in scars and inflammation.

The break and erosion is normally done by the acidic digestive (peptic) juices that the cells of the lining secrete.

Some other factors that may cause ulcers are infection in the stomach by the helicobacter pylori bacteria, habitual use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, and cigarette smoking.

The three main types of peptic ulcers are gastric (stomach) ulcer, esophagus ulcer, and duodenal ulcer.

27. Pain from Fibromyalgia

Pain from fibromyalgia is thought be mainly a result of overactive nerves. The pain, tenderness and ache is usually all over the body, and there are tender spots/points in certain parts of the body such as front and back of the neck, upper chest, knees and hips.

Fibromyalgia may cause hyperalgesia (increased pain to painful contact) and allodynia (pain to non-painful contact). It also affects soft tissue and not joints like arthritis.

Fibromyalgia may be caused by heredity, accidents, injuries, autoimmune disorders, psychological and emotional stress.

28. Pain from Lupus

Pain from lupus is usually from stiffness and tenderness in joints.

Joints mainly affected by lupus are fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and toes.

29. Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal pain is usually as a result of injury to bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons, muscles, and/or overuse.

Examples of musculoskeletal pain are lower back pain, tendonitis, and myalgia (muscle pain), joint pain, and “tunnel” syndromes – carpal, cubital and tarsal.

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