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Nociceptive and Neuropathic Pain

The following information describes the different types of chronic pain: nociceptive and neuropathic.

Nociceptive pain

Nociceptive pain is caused when special nerve endings—called nociceptors—are irritated. Nociceptive pain is the type of pain you feel when you burn yourself, twist your ankle, or stub your toe. It is a dull or sharp aching pain, and it can be mild to severe. This type of pain can usually be controlled. Nociceptive pain can be a temporary condition, such as when you have a sprained ankle, but it can also be a chronic condition. Cancer pain and arthritis pain are common types of chronic nociceptive pain. Nociceptive pain usually responds well to pain medications, anti-inflammatory agents, or other drug therapies. It usually does not respond well to neurostimulation.

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is caused by a malfunction of the nervous system due to an injury or an illness. Neuropathic pain can be a sharp, intense, shocking, or shooting pain. It is also very stubborn in that it does not usually respond as well as nociceptive pain to standard pain therapies, such as over-the-counter pain medications (for example, aspirin or ibuprofen) and prescription pain medications. Unlike nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain can often be managed by neurostimulation.