Friday 18 May 2012

Pain: a Taxonomy

Here is an attempt at classification of the different types of pain from which I suffer. Obviously the degree of pain is variable, from dull to sharp to acute, and differs depending on the type of pain. For example: achy pain is never sharp or acute; piercing pain is never dull. I have listed the terms alphabetically, not in order of frequency or intensity.
This is not an attempt to elicit sympathy nor an extension of putative hypochondria, but a genuine attempt to come up with some pertinent descriptors.
You may be aware of other types of pain than the eighteen hereby listed. You may experience pain differently. So, please feel free to add comments below.
Achy - dull; relating to my fibromyalgia (FMS); or my osteoarthritis (OA), usually heralding damp weather.
Blinding - experienced as searing flashes of light; migraine &/or photophobia.
Cutting - Raynaud’s syndrome skin splits; feels like multiple paper-cuts.
Drilling - into temples; migraine; at its worst makes me bang my head on the wall.
Earachy - probably one of the most difficult pains to cope with as makes sleep impossible for me over a prolonged period.
Fiery - arthritis in joints: hips, lumber, shoulders, wrists, elbows, feet...
Headachy - front of skull (not migraine); this is the only pain for which my prescribed painkillers (codeine) actually work.
Itching - eczema; is insanely worse than a typical itch mixed with a high degree of soreness.
Nasal - a burning sensation accompanied by an über-taut muscular contraction (a sort of heightened awareness or prolonged about-to-sneeze feeling) in my nose in reaction to chemical- &/or odour-sensitivity.
Piercing - sharper than stabbing and moves through my body faster than travelling pain; front ribs thro’ to back ribs or v.v. (sometimes linked to costochondritis); similarly with feet; back of head thro’ to back of eyes.
Pressure - ranging from being touch-sensitive to bed-sores.
Prickly - eye-balls; sometimes a precursor to migraine or a reaction to photophobia.
Shooting - up and down limbs, faster than travelling pain and doesn’t move elsewhere.
Stabbing - in my back (sometimes linked to costochondritis); soles of feet; base of skull; irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); constipation; diarrhœa.
Throbbing - more intense than achy, but less acute than fiery; typically in my limbs &/or at the back of my skull-base and in my neck.
Toothachy - my dentist advises there is nothing wrong with my gnashers, it’s simply yet another effect of the myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME); it can be a random single tooth or a whole jaw of teeth.
Travelling - moving, seemingly at random, from one part of the body to another with no discernible pattern.
Vibrating - a whole of body reaction to my intolerance of vibration &/or sound; it’s a sort of edginess that echoes around my body in diminishing waves; I feel it particularly acutely in my ears.

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