How Inflammation Causes Pain

Mar 27, 2017

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Your body has several systems to help repair and prevent injuries.

Your body has several systems to help repair and prevent injuries. Inflammation is one such system, protecting your body by removing harmful agents like pathogens, damaged cells, and irritants. When you feel inflammation symptoms like joint pain, redness, and sensitivity, it is your body trying to heal itself. Many people confuse inflammation with infection, but they are two different reactions. Infection is caused by a virus, fungus, or bacteria while Inflammation is the body’s response to infection.

Chronic and Acute Inflammation

Much like pain, there is acute and chronic inflammation. The cause of the inflammation often determines the form.

Acute Inflammation – In acute inflammation the symptoms occur rapidly and in some cases may be severe. Patients may feel discomfort for several days, though more serious cases persist for weeks. Causes of acute inflammation include but are not limited to:

  • Scratches and Cuts
  • Ingrown Toenail
  • Appendicitis
  • Intense Training
  • Sore Throat from a Flu or Cold
  • Bronchitis
  • Meningitis

Chronic Inflammation – Chronic inflammation can last for several months or years. This may be from the acute inflammation failing to destroy the root cause of harm in the body, the immune system is attacking itself, or a low intensity irritant continues to persist. Examples of chronic inflammation causes include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic Periodontitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Active Hepatitis
  • Asthma
  • Why Inflammation Causes Pain

Inflammation often causes stiffness, discomfort, and sometimes agony. Patients refer to the sensation as either a dull, throbbing feeling or a constant pulsating pain. While the sensation is a very individualized experience, inflammation typically causes pain because the swelling and buildup of tissue starts pressing against nerve endings. This pressure sends pain signals to the brain, causing discomfort. As long as the pressure persists, the nerves will regularly send the signals, although some brains learn to adapt or “ignore” them after a long enough time.

Pain may continue after the inflammation fades away. When you are experiencing chronic pain for up to six weeks and can not determine the cause, a medical expert can help with a diagnosis and plan. Contact Garden State Pain Center today to set an appointment with a New Jersey Pain Expert who can help guide you toward pain relief.

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