The Diversity of Pain Although pain is a universal experience, its exact nature remains a mystery. There are a numerous definitions of pain. It is known that pain is highly subjective and individual and that it is one of the body’s defense mechanisms indicating that there is a problem. No two people experience pain in exactly the same way. There are differences in individual pain perception and reaction, as well as the many causes of pain. This presents the nurse with a complex situation when developing a plan to relieve pain and provide comfort. In order to accomplish effective pain management it is necessary to understand the different types of pain. Pain may be described in terms of the duration, location or etiology. When pain last only through the expected recovery period, it is described as acute pain. This is whether it has a sudden or slow onset and regardless of the intensity. Chronic pain lasts beyond the usual course for recovery. Many clinicians use the interval of six months to define a pain as chronic. Chronic pain can be further classified as chronic malignant pain when the etiology is a non-progressive disorder. When chronic pain is extremely difficult to relieve despite therapeutic interventions it is classified as intractable. Acute and chronic pain, represent different physiologic and behavioral responses in clients. Pain can also be classified according to its location such as cutaneous, deep somatic, or visceral. Cutaneous pain originates in the skin or subcutaneous tissue. A paper cut causing a sharp pain with some burning is an example of cutaneous pain. Deep somatic pain arises from ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels, and nerves. It is diffuse and tends to last longer than cutaneous pain. An ankle sprain is an example of deep somatic pain. Visceral pain results from stimulation of pain receptors in the abdominal cavity, cranium, and thorax. Visceral pain tends to appear diffu…
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