Understanding & Diagnosing Pain

Pain can be roughly be put into two different categories, one is acute pain and the other is chronic pain. In regards to personal injury, it’s important to understand exactly what type of pain a victim is suffering from so that damages can be properly assessed and appropriate compensation can be awarded.

Pain, as well as its causes, can be diagnosed by medical professionals through a variety of methods. Here are a few of the methods most commonly used:

  • Assessment of Symptoms – Constant and unexplained headaches may be the result of injury to the brain. Short bursts of pain in the neck or back may be the result of an injury to the spine. Medical professionals can take a list of your symptoms and come to reasonable conclusions that help to determine what type of pain you have, as well as how long you may experience pain.

  • Physical Examination – Some injuries are not visible to those who are suffering. After a physical examination, a doctor may find that you have inner-ear damage that is causing you pain on one side of your head and that may lead to more pain in the years to come.

  • Medical Technology – CAT scans and MRI machines can be used to diagnose and explain the causes of pain. For example, a woman suffering from severe stomach pain may find out, through use of CAT scan, she has an unnatural object in her stomach, unintentionally left there by a surgeon that recently performed a medical procedure on her.

The Difference between Acute Pain and Chronic Pain

43pain Acute pain happens suddenly and is generally serious when evaluated using pain measurement tools. It is the body’s way of telling us about a disease or injury to the body. Chronic pain is described as remaining in the body well after the injury has occurred or visible damage from the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for weeks, months, years, and in some cases for the entire life of those who have been injured. Though most people can easily recognize long-term back pain as chronic pain, others are not as easily recognized. Emotional pain can also be classified as chronic pain. This includes depression, anxiety and fear of a reoccurring injury.

Common Causes of Acute Pain

Though there are many different factors that can cause acute pain, here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Surgery

  • Dental Work

  • Broken Bones

  • Fracture Bones

  • Damaged Vertebrae

  • Burn Injuries

  • Cuts & Lacerations

  • Diseases

  • Soft Tissue Injuries (Whiplash)

  • Significant Stress to Muscles

Common Causes of Chronic Pain

Like acute pain, there are many different factors that can cause an individual to experience chronic pain. Here are a few of the most common causes of chronic pain:

  • Lower Back Pain

  • Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

  • Repetitive Movement Injuries

  • Recurring Headaches

  • Diseases

  • Psychogenic Pain or Medically Unexplainable Pain

  • Damage to the Neurological System

  • Soft Tissue Injuries