Tuesday 14 June 2016

Pain: A Definitive Guide to the Types of

One thing I, and I think most spoonies discover, is just how many different types of pain there are and how quickly you become able to classify them and figure out which types you can cope with and which you can't. Here's a guide to the various types of pain I experience on a regular basis.

The restless, 'if I could stretch far/hard enough this would go away' pain: I hate this one, because I always feel like I *could* get rid of it, I just *can't*. This is more of a discomfort than a pain, but it keeps me up at night and it stops me from concentrating on anything. It also causes me to roll around and complain a lot.

The warm 'I've done some exercise' achy pain: I don't mind this one too much. It's that kind of warm ache that comes from exercising, it almost feels natural, and I imagine able-bodied people probably experience this too (though I think it takes a lot less exercise to bring it on in spoonies!). 

The stiff and achy 'I've pushed myself too far here' pain: the one that comes from walking that extra mile, going to those 3 extra shops, staying out that extra hour, or even for using a mouse for 3 hours, or carrying a box for a bit, or writing for half a page, or watering the plants for 15 minutes..I could go on. It's the above pain, but worse. It feels unnatural and stiff and heavy and it's so uncomfortable and the worst thing about it is that you know you did it to yourself and you'll do it again. 

The soreness of 'please don't touch me there' pain: usually, in my case, this comes from the physio or my well-meaning boyfriend. It's a pain of realising that aside from feeling pain almost abstractly, if you press on actual body parts you get more pain. What fun. 

The dull ache of life: the pain I get for having the audacity to exist. The pain I'm in all day every day, at some level or other. The pain that, on a good day I can mostly tune out but that will never leave (except the very first day I took Tramadol, when I was literally in no pain for the first time in my life and it was glorious and weird). 

The spiky 'uh oh something's gone wrong' pain: the one you feel when you've twisted/knocked/sprained/partly dislocated something. It's sharp and just plan WRONG and it makes you stop suddenly and assess the situation in a tentative manner. It is your body saying no, stop, this hurts, I don't want to do this anymore. It's a pain I often get in my hips at the front, or in my wrists when I try to write more than a sentence. 

The sharp ache of an injury pain: if the above pain is during/immediately after an injury, this pain is during recovery. It manages to be both sharp and an ache in a paradox only possible in a useless body like mine. 

The discomfort of a locked/dislodged joint pain: this pain, again, is more of a discomfort but can easily graduate to all out pain. It's the feeling of a joint not quite in the right place, happening because my joints have the capability to end up in the wrong place. Easier to rectify in a naturally more mobile joint like the shoulder or ankle or wrist, it's a bitch in my elbows and knees which are hypermobile enough to screw themselves over, yet not hypermobile enough for me to manipulate them back. Of course. 

The crack of a sudden movement pain: usually follows on from the above pain, or comes from moving suddenly after being still for a while. It's that audible crack that makes everyone around you go 'oooh'. It doesn't always hurt, but sometimes if the move is forceful enough, or the joint has been locked for a while, it does and it can leave a residual ache in its wake. 

The cold, almost growing-pain-like pain: a.k.a my nemesis. This is my worst pain, my most hated. It starts in joints and it radiates out into the muscles and it is sheer misery. This is the pain that set my whole setback off, the pain I most often take painkillers for, the pain that if I get is almost impossible to fully get rid of. It feels like the growing pains I got as a kid, but worse and also cold. It's hard to explain. It's also my most irrational pain in that it usually doesn't have a cause (that I can discern). I hate this pain.

I had 'Pain' in my head the whole time I was writing this but I think that, unlike Three Days Grace, I personally would rather not feel pain than nothing at all. 

Do you experience any of these pains? Any additional ones?


  1. I can totally relate to this, only I seem to find I can get the sharp shooting pain when nothing has 'gone wrong'. It just seems to happen. Then there's the pins & needles pain too, which is just horrid & the fact that there's a numbness element does nothing to improve the situation! I wish more non-spoonies realised just how many types of pain there were. It would make explaining how we can do things while in pain sometimes & not others. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

  2. Yes to all of them except the last one - the cold pain. I dont think I have that one and I hope I never get it. Thanks for writing these down. I feel like it validates my pain.

  3. I really dread the sudden sharp nerve pain. Am I having a heart attack? Did someone just stab me? Nope. It's just my nervous system acting up or a muscle spasm. I also hate the dull aching pain I live with most of the time. It can be exhausting.

  4. It’s so true that ‘pain’ isn’t just ‘pain’ when you deal with it on a daily basis! For me I actually hate a kind of pain that even healthy women get - period pains lol. Well apart from muscle aches from Sj√∂gren’s...not a nice exercise type ache, more like nails pounding into your bone type of pain, which painkillers do nothing for. I’m ‘happy’ to know others who can relate ;)