Different Types of Pain and How to Get Pain Relief

Whether it’s mild or moderate, the result of injury or illness, there’s no questioning that any type of pain can be extremely unpleasant. In some cases, your pain may even limit your ability to get on with your day. That’s why it’s comforting to know that pain relief is available.

Read on to learn more about some common types of pain, and how to get pain relief for each one, with this guide from Panadol. 

Acute pain

Unlike chronic pain, acute pain often comes on suddenly (within hours or days) and occurs for a short period of time. It’s usually the result of something specific – such as an injury, surgery or illness – and can be thought of as a kind of warning sign from the body. Acute pain can also range from mild to severe, depending on its cause. Thankfully, it usually goes away when the body has healed or recovered.iv

It’s important to act on acute pain as soon as you feel it. If left untreated, acute pain can become chronic. Getting effective and timely treatment for acute pain can help prevent the transition to chronic pain.i

Examples of acute pain causes include:iv

  • Burns or cuts
  • Insect stings
  • Infection
  • Broken bones
  • Surgery
  • Dental work 
  • Childbirth

Nociceptive inflammatory pain

Inflammatory pain is often specific to one area. It is caused by a protective response in the body that is triggered when tissue has been damaged in some way, and is intended to help with tissue repair. Inflammatory pain may be accompanied by symptoms such as swelling, redness, discoloured skin or increased sensitivity to touch and movement in the affected spot of the body.v

Inflammatory pain can be caused by:v

  • A sprained ankle or other joint
  • Non-specific lower back or neck pain
  • Broken bones
  • Pulled muscles

Pain relief options

If you are experiencing any of these types of pain, it’s natural to want to find some pain relief. The good news is, there are plenty of options available that can help relieve your pain, from medications to natural pain relief options. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine

If you are suffering from mild to moderate inflammatory, acute pain, an OTC pain reliever can help. The most common forms of these are paracetamol products, such as and anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist before using any medication, even when it is available OTC.vi

At-home treatments

In addition to these pain relief medication options, there are some things you can try at home to help reduce your pain with natural techniques.

Applying a towel dampened with cold water and then placed in the freezer for 15 minutes eases inflammation and swelling, and helps to reduce pain in the area.vii

Learn more about how to get pain relief from other common issues, including tension headaches and period pain, with Panadol.

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i. What is chronic pain? Pain Australia. https://www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain/painaustralia-common-forms-of-pain. Accessed 25/08/20.

ii. Chronic pain in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-disease/chronic-pain-in-australia/contents/summary. Accessed 25/08/20.

iii. Painful facts. Pain Australia. https://www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain. Accessed 25/08/20.

iv. Acute pain. Health Navigator, New Zealand. https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/a/acute-pain/. Accessed 25/08/20.

v. Pain types. Pain Health / University of Western Australia. https://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au/pain-module/pain-types/. Accessed 25/08/20.

vi. Medications for pain. Musculoskeletal Australia. https://www.msk.org.au/medications-for-pain/. Accessed 25/08/20.

vii. Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses For Pain. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/ice-packs-vs-warm-compresses-for-pain. Accessed 25/08/20.