Did you know there are 2 types of pain with fibromyalgia & CFS that many of us struggle with? They are nociceptive and neuropathic pain. Find out more about each, including natural treatment options, below.
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Chronic pain can be divided into 2 pain types:
- Nociceptive Pain
- Neuropathic Pain
Type 1: Nociceptive Pain
What is Nociceptive Pain?
When you have an injury, there are receptors in the nervous system that become activated. These are called ‘nociceptors’.
If there is an injury that occurs outside the nervous system, then these nociceptors aren’t activated.
Nociceptive pain is caused by either an injury or something, such as a diseased part of the body that doesn’t affect the nerves.
However, in chronic pain, the nociceptors might continue to send pain messages to the brain long after the injury has healed.
Nociceptive pain is broken into two sub-categories:
1. Somatic Pain: The word ‘soma’ means ‘body’, therefore, somatic pain is from outer body injuries, such as:
The type of pain depends on what part of your body is injured, however it is generally easy to pinpoint where the somatic pain is coming from.
Somatic pain tends to be throbbing, aching, dull or sharp.
Examples of Somatic Pain:
- Tension headaches
- Pelvic pain caused by pelvic joint instability
- Chronic back pain that is not caused by nerve damage
Treatment of Somatic Pain: Some people find that over-the-counter medications such as anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) and analgesics work. These can be both oral medications or creams and rubs. Opiods can be prescribed, but generally for shorter-term use.
Heat and cold packs can also help reduce pain and swelling, massage and relaxation may also help to reduce pain.
Exercise is a great way to reduce somatic pain due to increasing endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone. Endorphins are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.
2. Visceral Pain: Viscera are your internal organs and blood vessels, which don’t have a lot (or any) nerves. It is caused by compression in and around the organs or by stretching of the abdominal cavity.
Visceral pain can have referred pain – meaning that your brain can’t figure out where the pain is coming from. A good example is lower back pain might be a kidney problem.
Examples of visceral pain:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Bladder pain (such as cystitis)
- Endometriosis pain
- Prostate pain
- Cancer-related pain
People with visceral pain may experience pallor, profuse sweating, nausea, GI disturbances, and changes in body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Treatment of Visceral Pain: Visceral pain is generally treated with either opiods or NSAIDS. Exercise can also improve pain due to endorphins being released.
Visceral pain can feel like aching or squeezing.
Type 2: Neuropathic Pain
Otherwise referred to as ‘peripheral neuropathy’, this type of pain is known as ‘nerve pain’ vs an actual injury causing pain signals, the nerves themselves are damaged. It can be a very intense pain – it can be very complex and sometimes hard to treat.
What Causes Neuropathic Pain?
Pain signals that are being sent to the brain that are faulty, which can lead to chronic, neuropathic pain.
Your body is made up of a large network of nerves, which is called the ‘peripheral nerve system’, which is made up from all the spinal column nerves and nerve roots.
Should these nerves begin to malfunction, through either injury or disease, then they can cause chronic neuropathic pain -which can also be referred pain.
A perfect example is numbness and tingling in your arm, which could be related to damage to the nerves in your neck.
Nerve Pain Isn’t Always Understood Pain…
Although what can exactly be the cause of chronic neuropathic pain isn’t always understood, the nerve pain can be brought on by irritation ( such as osteoporosis and degeneration), disease and trauma.
Some people can be born with conditions that can cause neuropathic pain, other types are congenital disorders.
Neuropathic pain is common in diseases such as diabetes that attack sensory nerves.
Nerve Damage & Disease
Nerve pain can also be present when nerves have been damaged or severed, such as spinal cord injury or amputation. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and sciatica are also conditions where the nerves have been irritated and can cause nerve pain.
Other diseases and disease sources that can cause neuropathic pain can include Guillain-Barre syndrome,( which is thought to have a connection with fibromyalgia) , cancer, multiple sclerosis, kidney disorders, alcoholism, and HIV.
More types of neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage include spinal cord injury, post-mastectomy pain (PMPS), postoperative hernia repair pain, and other types of post-surgical pain.
Neuropathic pain can feel sharp, stinging and have burning sensations.
Fibromyalgia pain and CFS pain that is nerve related are allodynia ( pain due to a stimulus that does not usually provoke pain) and hyperalgesia (increased pain from a stimulus that usually provokes pain)
Root Causes of Pain
This past year has been a real journey for myself, regarding that ‘light bulb moment’ – where I realized that a lot of my health issues – pain included – had to do with root issues (ie the main issue causing the pain).
So many of us have fallen into the situation with conventional medicine that we take medications that not only mask the symptom -but can subtly create a multitude of other health issues aka side effects – requiring, you guessed it…more meds!
Problem is that many of these medications are doing nothing to eradicate the source of the pain to begin with…
One issue that I clued into this past year, (which blew my mind), was toxicity.
Toxins can make our bodies ache (not to mention be the root cause of things like brain fog, sleep issues, fatigue, skin issues and so much more…). Parasites love to burrow in our joints and muscles, causing pain, as an example.
Toxic Neuropathy is a Real Thing
Toxic neuropathy refers to neuropathy caused by drug ingestion, drug or chemical abuse, or industrial chemical exposure from the workplace or the environment.
It can also be caused by additive toxins in foods and food additives, pesticides, industrial and/or household cleaning solvents, etc. (In other words, you don’t have to be working in a nuclear power plant to be affected by toxins causing toxic neuropathy…)
Treating Pain Naturally
Many people are choosing alternative, natural, pain relief options vs prescription medication that can cause side effects, such as constipation, addiction, itching, sleep issues and withdrawal.
As mentioned above, heat and ice can also help. You can find out more about heat and ice treatment here.
A product that contains both peperine and curcumin (a known, natural pain and inflammation ingredient) is by a trusted household spice company – Schwartz. Their curcumin & bioperine pain relief & joint support is also GMO and gluten-free.
I personally highly recommend Ouch Pain Relief Capsules – as they not only help muscle and joint pain – but also nerve pain (which is so hard to treat).
Many people don’t connect with the fact that their mattress can also be a prime source of pain, and only figure this out when they get a new mattress.
In fact, a study was done by Oklahoma State University, which found that people with back problems who replaced their mattresses every 5-7 years slept significantly better and reduced their pain.
Consider how much time you spend in bed – and if you struggle to sleep and wake up stiff and aching…could be time to replace your mattress!
For many of us, we spend a lot more time than the average person in our beds, due to pain.
Therefore, replacing a mattress on a regular basis is really something to consider if you are struggling with neck, back and hip pain.
In the UK?
If you are in the UK and are looking for a great mattress, I can personally recommend (because I sleep on it every night), the Nrem mattress designed for people with chronic pain.
Mention FIBROMAPP when you go to check out and get a £30 discount.
Plus…you get 100 night trial, 0% interest, for just £1 a night – no matter what size mattress!. Sleep easy with £0 deposit and no payments until the month after your order. And free delivery, too! Awesome!
Excercise Can Help
Exercise is also an excellent way to get your pain under control – naturally, by releasing endorphins – the ‘feel good’ hormone.
Obviously, it can also increase pain! Moving to fast, overstretching and twisting can increase pain, however, there are exercises you can do that are much more gentle, such as swimming – a great exercise for people with chronic pain!
Swimming, otherwise known as ‘aquatic therapy’, can help reduce inflammation. Because of the the buoyancy of your body in the water, it protects you from jarring and jerking movements and is low impact – all of which is great for pain peeps!
In conclusion, most of us with fibromyalgia and CFS are dealing with 2 types of pain affecting muscles, joints and nerves. What about you? Do you struggle with both types of pain? What do you do that helps relieve it (naturally?).