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The different types of pain help understand what’s going on for you and your body.

This person has upper back and maybe neck pain. Could she have bone cancer?

Pain is a common experience that can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, illness, and emotional distress. There are many different types of pain, each with its own specific characteristics. Those are important distinctions – character and type. The different types of pain help understand what’s going on for you and your body. Pain can be described as colicky, pulsating, cramping, or shooting, but there is an even more basic descriptor to start helping us understand, that being acute or chronic character. We often start with that, and also look at the distribution of the pain – localized or general. Sometimes whether the pain is “intense” or “mild” is actually less relevant. Sometimes what’s causing the pain is obvious; sometimes it’s not. Since Doctor Dana Sibilla is trained in chiropractic orthopedics as well as chiropractic physiotherapy, bodywork/massage, exercise and fitness, Blue Heron Chiropractic at 1934 NE Broadway in Portland is an ideal place to come to get some answers and find a solution

What is Acute Pain?

Acute pain is a sudden, sharp or dull pain that is caused by injury or illness. In the case of injury or infection, pain is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling, redness, and heat. It can be intense or mild. Dull pain can also come on acutely, or new and strong, and can be organ or joint based, including when it is punctuated by bursts of sharp pain. Dull pain does not necessarily need to be mild, it can be intense when acute. Acute pain is a warning sign that something is wrong, and is a good signal to get the underlying problem identified and treated.

How is Chronic Pain Different?

Chronic pain was originally acute, but has persisted and lasts for more than 6-12 weeks. Opinions vary about that time period, but 12 weeks is definitely accepted here. The pain character can change in nature, or become intermittent, but it can still be exquisitely painful. Chronic pain is often the continued result of an underlying condition, such as arthritis, infection, cancer, or a nerve injury. Chronic pain can be greater or milder than the original acute pain. Chronic pain can be debilitating and can interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, and enjoy life. It’s treated differently than acute pain. Blue Heron Chiropractic has strategies for telling them apart and working with it directly. 

What is Nociceptive pain?

Nociceptive pain is pain that is caused by damage to tissues. It is the most common type of pain, and it can be caused by a variety of injuries, such as cuts, bruises, and burns. Nociceptors are “pain sensors”, and some tissues have more or less of them, even from person-to-person. Nociceptive pain is usually sharp and localized, and it can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling, redness, and heat.

What about Nerve Pain?

Neurogenic pain is pain that is caused by damage to or impact of a problem upon nerves. It is often electrical and shooting, typically down the arms or legs, but also shows up as an instant on-off burst, like a “sparkle” of pain. Neurogenic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injury, illness, and certain medications. Neuropathic pain is often described as burning, tingling, or shooting pain. It can be difficult to treat, and it can sometimes be disabling.

Is Pain Ever Psychological?

Psychogenic pain is an outdated term that has been used in the past to describe pain that was felt to be “caused” by psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. We often hear pain descrined as “biopsychosocial”.  This is often a misunderstood and old concept that has been replaced by sophisticated techniques and strategies, including  ones that help heal brain pathways and work with neuroplasticity. It’s more often that psychogenic or biopsychosocial factors can interfere with your brain and body’s ability to understand and mediate actual pain signals. Psychologically mediated pain can be difficult to treat unless a provider is willing to spend the time to adequately diagnose and to help the patient work with it. We have those strategies at Blue Heron Chiropractic.

What treatments are available?

There are many different treatments available for conditions creating pain. The best treatment for a particular person will depend on the type of pain, the severity of the pain, and the underlying cause of the pain. Keep in mind, pain is a symptom – we will treat your problem. Some common treatments for pain include:

  • Chiropractic
  • Physical therapy
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory drugs

Above all, however, proper diagnosis is the key to selecting the type of treatment. The good news is that of all the above methods, chiropractic doctors have full diagnostic training that most providers of the other methods don’t have access to. A Chiropractic doctor can thus diagnose and then treat, or make a referral. At Blue Heron Chiropractic, 1934 NE Broadway in Portland Oregon, Doctor Sibilla makes referrals all the time, often co-treating with MDs or other providers. 

Are Chiropractors the right doctors for pain?

If you are experiencing pain, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Pain can be a sign of a serious medical condition, and it is important to rule out any underlying problems. Chiropractic


 is a delivery model of a medical strategy that includes an intrinsic  focus on the spine and its relationship to health. Chiropractors are doctors who can use spinal, joint and soft tissue manipulations, physical therapies, massage therapies, diet and supplementation and other techniques to treat a wide range of conditions, including pain, headaches, and neck and back pain. Chiropractors are also useful in diagnosis and second-opinion diagnosis of many other health conditions. Chiropractors in most jurisdictions have full access and can both take and read X-rays, order and interpret MRIs and advanced imaging, and order and interpret lab tests. 

Is Blue Heron Chiropractic masking for the COVID-19 Pandemic at this time?

The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed considerably in the US and in Portland, and a lot of that has to do with the increase of  immunity in the population, as well as variations in the virus. With the current Covid-19 variants posing perhaps less risk to certain individuals, masking is now optional for patients. Staff will still currently be masking inside the clinic. Doctor Sibilla may continue to wear a mask for some time afterwards as the epidemiology continues to evolve. We may continue to temperature scan if a patient has flu-like symptoms, simply because it is so easy to do, and simply provides more information. If you would like a mask and don’t have one, we can provide you with one. We will continue to encourage patients with notable flu-like symptoms to contact us before coming in so we can coordinate all aspects to serve you better.  Access Chiropractic safely and securely at Blue Heron Chiropractic & Healing Arts Center, with Dr. Dana Sibilla, DC DABCO FIANM.

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