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Call us now if you have:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Disc Herniation
  • Post Surgical Spine
  • Neck Pain
  • Radiating Arm Pain
  • Hand Numbness/Tingling
  • Midback Pain
  • Migraine Headache
  • Tension Headaches
  • TMJ (jaw or facial pain)
  • Knee Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Post-surgical shoulder rehab
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Foot Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Poor Sleep
  • Positional Vertigo
  • Car Accident/”Whiplash”
  • Sports Injuries
  • Acute Pain
  • Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • Osgood-Schlaters (young athlete knee pain)
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Three Basic Types of Pain:

Pain can be generated in only three ways, so there are only three pain syndromes from a physiological perspective. These three types of pain, although usually sequential, need not be so, and since they are different entities, they require different treatment approaches. It is also important to note that multiple pain types may coexist.

I. “TYPE ONE PAIN (Nociception)”

Defined as the sort that arises from trouble in the tissues or damaged tissues, this information is converted to nerve signals and is reported to the brain by the nervous system (known as nociceptive pain). Everything from a bee sting, a burn, a toe being stubbed, a cut, heat, cold, inflammation, repetitive strain injury, osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, and even chemical or inflammatory changes. In short, these nociceptors report to your brain anything that threatens your tissues.

It is important to note that nociceptors are not actually pain fibers. Nociceptors are special receptors/nerve endings that detect any harmful or potentially harmful stimuli. Their function: communicate the tissue state back to the brain for interpretation.

Types of nociceptive pain:

Nociceptive pain covers most leg, arm, and back pain. They’re categorized as either radicular or somatic.

Radicular pain
Radicular pain occurs when areas around the spine, the nerve roots, are irritated or compressed. Symptoms can be experienced down your arm, into your shoulders, scapular area, leg or hips via the nerves that tap directly into the spinal cord.
Radiculopathy is a condition that causes “radicular pain.” Commonly it can be described as numbness, weakness, and tingling, or feelings of pins and needles, among other symptoms. Specific methods of chiropractic work very well in nearly all of these cases, as does spinal decompression.

Somatic pain
Somatic pain happens when any of the pain receptors in your tissues, such as those in muscles, bone, or skin, are activated. This type of pain often increases with movement. It’s usually localized. Headaches and cuts are both considered somatic pain. Chiropractic and acupuncture work very well for most conditions involving somatic pain.

Visceral pain
Visceral pain happens when internal organs, such as involuntary muscles in the heart, are injured or inflamed. This type of pain is usually described as aching and may seem vague.

II. “TYPE TWO PAIN (Neuropathic Pain):”

Defined as the sort that arises from damage to the very system that reports and interprets damage, the nervous system itself. “Neuropathic pain is defined as pain caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory system.” This includes damage to the central or peripheral nervous system, either from disease, accidents, injury or pinching.

Often described as stabbing, shooting, burning or electrical, almost any quality of pain is possible. A damaged nerve may cause symptoms in many locations “downstream” from the damage (whereas Type One Nociceptive Pain is mostly more isolated). It can also be associated with sensory disturbances, like tingling, numbness and weakness.

Patients find that uncontrolled nerve pain is hard to bear. Two Pain is generally not very responsive to over-the-counter pain killers, and tends to last longer.

Mechanical insults, like hitting your funny bone or sciatica are good examples or neuropathic pain. Other examples of Type Two Pain: Entrapment neuropathy (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome), post herpetic (singles) neuralgia, causalgia (nerve trauma), and several diseases such as MS, and diabetic neuropathies to name a just a few.

Unfortunately, Type Two Pain it’s more likely to lead to chronic pain: when nerves don’t heal well.

III. “TYPE THREE PAIN (Centralized Pain = Maladaptive Central Processing = Denervation Supersensitivity).”

Defined as pathological perception and sensation, this type is driven by the spinal cord and brain, regardless of what’s going on in the tissues.

Type Three Pain is definitely the most stubborn type of pain. This is because the body has already healed and there is no longer any inflammation. The paradox of this is that inflammation is the prelude to healing, yet Type Three Pain has no injury or inflammation from which the body can now recognize. This creates a problem. In the meantime the tissues in these areas develop what is called “SUPERSENSITIVITY.” This happens when healthy axons sprout and synapse with denervated fibers (called collateral reinnervation). The bottomline, neurons become unusually overly sensitive and develop pathological activity with abnormal excitability.

Once this happens, the nervous system goes through a process called “wind-up” and gets regulated in a persistent state of high reactivity. This means that structures over-react to a wide variety of inputs, including stretching and pressure. Supersensitive pressure receptors are the reason why neuropathic muscles are tender, and why people with musculoskeletal pain can even feel barometric weather changes. The sore or painful part is deep, and typical treatments may not be able to penetrate sufficiently or accurately.

Commonly this type of pain is the reason for long-term/chronic pain well after injuries have healed. An example of hypersensitivity is residual pain from more severe accidents or injuries (where micro-tears have occurred in ligaments, tendons or muscles and subsequently healed with adhesions (scar tissue).

When it comes to Type Three Pain, the greatest drawbacks of passive methods of treatment is that when you stop treatment, the extrinsic source of energy ceases, so the pain returns. Such passive treatments are but a temporary substitute for the body’s own bio-energy.

Recent data is revealing an ideal treatment. It is the body’s own intrinsic healing force. Instead of external forms of treatment, with their inherent limitations, you can summon the body’s own intrinsic force. This is easily achieved by making minute injuries with a fine needle as with acupuncture. The needle may be precisely placed at that part of the muscle where nerve endings are abundant— the zone of innervation.

It is for this reason that acupuncture has a unique benefit not available in any other form of local treatment. Research has shown that a substance, known as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), is released from blood at sites where there is damage to blood vessels. PDGF attracts cells to the damaged area and induces cells to proliferate. In effect, blood is a healing agent, bringing to damaged cells a gene-factor which cells require to multiply. There is no other treatment known that does this. This is why acupuncture may well become the treatment of choice for Type Three Pain.


Chiropractor Johnston | (515) 270-2924