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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Fighting Chronic Pain

There are many types of pain in the body, but they all can be classified as acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Although the acute pain of a broken leg or a cut is fairly simple to diagnose, health care professionals and scientists know that chronic pain is very complex. Below are some of the major types and sources of pain where they appear in different parts of the body.

A woman lifting weights

Photo: Thinkstock

Traumatic: Pain from injuries, including sprains and sports injuries and pain following surgery

Skin: Burns, rashes, and inflammation

Heart/Blood Vessels: Heart attack, angina, leg pain from clogged arteries

Stomach/Digestive: Gallstones, intestinal obstruction, diverticulitis, ulcers, severe indigestion, severe gas pain, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis

Urinary/Reproductive: Kidney stones, pelvic pain, vulvodynia, menstrual cramps

Disease-Related Pain: Various cancers, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), tuberculosis, HIV-AIDs, and others

Head/Neck: Migraine, headaches, jaw pain (TMJ), earache, toothache, sore throat, sinus pain, facial numbness

Muscles and Bones: Arthritis, back pain, bone pain from spread of cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome

Neurologic: "Phantom limb" pain after amputation, nerve pain from diabetes

Fall 2007 Issue: Volume 2 Number 4 Page 21