The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage."
Why Do We Experience Pain?
Pain is natural defense mechanism that is triggered, much like a reflex, to protect us from a painful stimulus. Pain is an important warning sign that something is wrong.
Common Areas of Pain
Describing Muscle or Joint Pain
Nothing sends people to the doctor faster than experiencing pain. How you describe pain can help your doctor determine the cause and find an effective treatment. Because the experience of pain is highly subjective, it's helpful to provide details about your pain, including:
- Where is the pain located?
- When did the pain begin?
- What does the pain feel like? (sharp, dull, aching, shooting, gnawing, etc.)
- What is the intensity of the pain from 1 to 10?
- Is your pain constant or intermittent?
- Does anything make the pain worse?
- Does anything make the pain better?
Types of Pain
- Acute - of rapid onset and short-lived, or
- Chronic - develops slowly and is persistent and long-lasting.
Is It Pain Or Muscle Fatigue?The physical pain of illness or injury is very closely related to the pain of delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, although it is not caused by the same mechanism that causes the discomfort of muscle fatigue during exercise.
Finding Relief From PainThe most common treatments for muscle and joint pain include ice, heat and using pain relieving medications. You can learn more about the benefits and limitations of each type of pain relief technique in the following articles:
- R.I.C.E. Treatment - How to use rest, ice, compression and elevation for pain relief.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications - What are the best choices for pain relief from swelling.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers - How to select the right medication for pain relief.
- Topical Pain Medications - How to use sports creams and gels to relieve muscle and joint pain.
- Should I Ice or Heat My Injury?
IASP Pain Terminology, The International Association for the Study of Pain, Nov. 2008.