There are several different ways to categorize types of chronic pain. Chronic pain may be classified by whether or not it has a clear cause. When the cause of chronic pain is known, it may be categorized by its cause. Chronic pain can be organized by the body part or tissue in which it is felt, or which nerve is associated with the pain. Some types of chronic pain are categorized as syndromes, or collections of symptoms. Many people have more than one type of chronic pain.
Different treatments may be more effective for different types of chronic pain.
When the underlying cause of chronic pain is known, doctors may diagnose and describe it by its cause. Examples of pain described by its cause include:
Chronic pain is a common symptom of many conditions, including endometriosis, migraine, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease), fibromyalgia, spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
When the cause of pain is not known, some doctors refer to it as “benign pain.”
Some scientists refer to pain as either neuropathic (related to nerve damage) or nociceptive (related to damage in other body tissues).
Some doctors may refer to pain simply by the general location where it occurs in the body. Examples include:
Doctors may also refer to types of pain by the tissue in which they occur, rather than a specific body part. Each tissue causes different pain sensations, and pain in some tissues may be treated differently than others. Examples of pain in specific tissues includes:
Some types of chronic pain are named for the specific nerves that are involved. These include:
Neuroma (painful scar) and phantom limb pain are other types of neuropathic pain.
A syndrome is a collection of associated symptoms that forms a pattern. Some syndromes have a known cause, but others do not. Some types of chronic pain are described as syndromes. Chronic pain syndromes include: