What is pain and how do we experience it?

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience¹.

It's an uncomfortable feeling that tells you something is wrong. Pain can feel steady, throbbing, stabbing, aching or pinching. The word pain can be used to describe both a minor nuisance, like a stitch after exercise, or something that’s utterly debilitating. 

What is Pain?

Pain is the body’s emotional response associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Its impact on us can be profound. Pain can bring about other physical symptoms, like nausea, dizziness or drowsiness. Or affect our emotional state, triggering anger, depression or mood swings.

At its most severe, pain can stop us from doing the things we love; it changes our lifestyle, impacts our job and affects our relationships. While almost all of us feel pain, the way that we respond to it differs from person to person. Some of us have a high tolerance for pain, others much lower. For this reason, pain is highly subjective.

What causes pain?

When we feel pain, it’s because our nerves are sending a message to our brain. Pain occurs when our nerves experience a pain stimulus, and then send out a signal letting our brain know.

Most Common Types of Pain and Symptoms

Pain is a very broad term which is generally broken down into two categories: acute pain and chronic pain. 

Acute pain is a pain that usually comes on suddenly and has a very clear cause. It’s a sharp, sometimes shooting pain rather than a dull ache. Acute pain is relatively short-lived, lasting no longer than six months. Once the underlying cause has been removed the acute pain goes, and a person can go on with their normal life. Examples of acute pain are:

  • Cuts and burns
  • Dental work
  • Surgery
  • Broken bones
  • Labour and childbirth.

Chronic pain is a much longer-term proposition, a pain that lasts beyond six months and may have no obvious cause. Usually, chronic pain is not shooting pain, but rather aches and discomfort – although this isn’t always the case. Chronic pain may affect someone even after an injury has healed. In this case, pain signals are still active in the nervous system. Some clear examples of chronic pain are:

  • Headache
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Cancer

People suffering from chronic pain may suffer from a range of other effects which are linked. These might be physical: tense muscles; lack of energy; changes in appetite. Or these might be emotional side effects, like depression or anxiety.

Find out more about the differences between chronic and acute pain.

How BioWaveGO Treats Pain​ 

Because it’s 100% drug-free and safe to use, BioWaveGO, can be used to treat both acute and chronic pain.

While TENS machines and many painkillers work by masking pain, BioWaveGO uses a high-frequency, electrical current system that works by blocking pain directly at the nerve, to give lasting relief.

  • Our smarter pain blocking technology block pain directly at the source
  • Place our non-invasive electrodes directly over the pain
  • Turn on your device for a simple treatment session of just 30 minutes  
  • BioWaveGO’s effective technology provides lasting relief for up to eight hours 

Further Ways to Classify Pain  

Acute and chronic pain can be further broken down into a series of sub-categories that help to better describe pain.

Nociceptive Pain

This is the most common type of pain, caused by stimulation or disruption to the skin and internal organs. There are two types of nociceptive pain:

  • Visceral Pain – The result of damage to your internal organs. As the name suggests, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint the exact location of visceral pain. It may be described as aches, cramps or pressure and is applicable to:
    • Appendicitis
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Kidney stones
  • Somatic pain – Much easier to pinpoint, this is pain in the skin, muscles, connective tissue, bones and joints. It’s applicable to:
    • Broken bones
    • Muscle damage
    • Cuts and burns
    • Joint pain
    • Connective tissue disease e.g. osteoporosis

Neuropathic pain

This is a type of pain which manifests as a result of damage to the nervous system. It is described as numbness, tingling, or a more severe stabbing or shooting pain. Although there isn’t always a clear cause, it can be brought on by some of the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • HIV
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Radiation or chemotherapy drugs