The Difference Between Neuropathy and Nociceptive Pain (and why it matters)

neuropathic vs nociceptive pain neckNeck pain can have a variety of causes, some more serious than others, and the way that we describe that pain is important for understanding its likely progression and appropriateness of treatments.

We all recognize that the body is a complicated system where the mind can affect pain perception and pain perception can affect the mind. In some cases mind-over-matter really is key to resolving neck pain as both internal mental factors and external environmental factors within our control can have a significant effect on how pain is felt, if at all.

Two Types of Pain

Pain is typically divided into two clear types: neuropathic pain (which we talk a lot about here on PainNeck.com) and nociceptive pain. The latter includes things such as burns, bruises, muscle strains and ligament sprains and inflammation from things like arthritis and infections. The pain signals we get in these kinds of cases are caused by physical damage, or impending damage, to bodily tissues and act as a trigger to remove the cause of injury. For example, if a heavy backpack is not fitted quite right and is causing muscles in the neck and shoulders to become stressed then nociceptive pain signals will alert us to a problem and prompt us to either reduce/remove the heavy load or find a different way to carry it.

Relieving Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is usually localized and its causes easily identifiable. However, in the case of neck pain it may be that a combination of factors such as text-neck, iPhone-related shoulder pain, a non-ergonomic messenger bag or briefcase, and even an ill-fitting bra are all contributing to the pain, making it tricky to relieve tension quickly and effectively through a single action.

Pain of this kind is usually constant, aching or throbbing but not normally chronic as the body heals the damage once the cause is removed. Burns and bruises are good examples of this, while conditions such as arthritis, or chronic muscle tension which goes unresolved do persist. Visceral nociceptive pain can also arise, although this is usually less localized, and may be due to an infection causing inflammation in an internal organ. Again, this will often be limited, timewise, and is, like most nociceptive pain, usually responsive to opiate medications for pain.

What is Neuropathic Pain?

In contrast to nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain involves trauma to the nerves, leading to abnormal pain sensations or persistent pain sensations even upon light touch (allodynia). There are many causes of nerve trauma, some specifically involving the nerves and others where the nerves are damaged secondarily to other tissues. Conditions that can lead to neuropathic pain include herpes and shingles (i.e. post-herpetic neuralgia), cancer, limb amputation, carpal tunnel syndrome (a form of entrapment neuropathy), and diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathic pain in peripheral nerves, although many others triggers exist for peripheral neuropathy, including:


  • Chronic alcohol use/abuse
  • Toxic exposure (neuropathy may be a side effect of chemotherapy)
  • Vitamin deficiencies (especially B vitamins)
  • Numerous medical conditions

Neuropathic pain can occur to varying degrees and secondary to undiagnosed conditions, meaning that it is often unrecognized and untreated. The condition may improve through direct treatment of the trigger, i.e. better control of blood sugar in diabetes, but many patients have undiagnosed neuropathic pain that can significantly lower their quality of life.

Physical Effects of Nerve Damage

Some patients have neuropathic pain caused by the growth of a tumor which presses on the nerves, or of scar tissue causing pinched nerves or nerve adhesion. Spinal tumors do arise but are a relatively uncommon cause of back pain or neck pain. Instead, herniated discs pressing on spinal nerves or leaking inflammatory fluid onto spinal nerves are more likely to be the cause of cervical spinal neuropathy. This kind of pain may persist months after the actual trigger for the tissue damage has been removed.

Healing Nerve Damage to Relieve Neck Pain

Nerves take a long time to heal or may not heal at all in some cases of severe damage. In such cases, the neuropathic pain is no longer acting as an alert to tissue damage but is a sign of nerve signal dysfunction, which tends to respond less well to opiate drugs. There are alternative pain medications, however, such as anti-depressants and anti-seizure drugs which patients may need to take at low doses in perpetuity as some neuropathic pain is irreversible.

Nociceptive and Neuropathic Neck Pain

Of course, neck pain may be caused by both nociceptive and neuropathic pain signals. For example, a patient may have both muscle strain and inflammation from working out at the gym and also have an underlying inflammatory joint condition affecting the spine, such as arthritis. Or, it may be that diabetic neuropathy is adversely affecting nerve function and a patient accidentally burns themselves because of a loss of feeling and coordination.

Treating Neck Pain – Whatever the Cause

Some of the mechanisms behind systemic inflammation and neurogenic inflammation are shared or influence each other while in other conditions, such as fibromyalgia, it may be that abnormal nerve activity (neuropathy) triggers altered muscle activity that then causes nociceptive pain. As such, even neck pain that appears to be clearly linked to one cause may have a number of complex underlying factors that warrant a range of interventions including opioids, anti-inflammatories, improved nutrition, and alternative therapies such as meditation and mindfulness to help apply the gate control theory of pain management.

382 replies
  1. Melaine Rohr
    Melaine Rohr says:

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!|

    Reply
  2. Shawnna Krasinski
    Shawnna Krasinski says:

    I’ll immediately grasp your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please allow me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.|

    Reply
  3. Freddy Oas
    Freddy Oas says:

    Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!|

    Reply
  4. Lashell Trenton
    Lashell Trenton says:

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and may come back later in life. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great work, have a nice afternoon!|

    Reply
  5. Jaime Trotman
    Jaime Trotman says:

    Undeniably consider that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be at the internet the simplest factor to understand of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly do not realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing with no need side effect , folks could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks|

    Reply
  6. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    I am extremely impressed together with your writing skills and
    also with the structure for your blog. Is that this a paid
    subject matter or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up
    the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to see a great weblog like
    this one today..

    Reply
  7. bit.ly
    bit.ly says:

    My brother recommended I may like this web site. He was once entirely right.
    This submit truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how so much
    time I had spent for this information! Thank
    you!

    Reply
  8. Nicolas Reevers
    Nicolas Reevers says:

    This is very interesting, You’re a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for in the hunt for more of your magnificent post. Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks|

    Reply
  9. Meri Burell
    Meri Burell says:

    Hello There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. That is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely return.|

    Reply
  10. Colton Nemec
    Colton Nemec says:

    Great blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol|

    Reply
  11. Ricardo Gach
    Ricardo Gach says:

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.|

    Reply
  12. Lenita Spake
    Lenita Spake says:

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.|

    Reply
  13. Adan Fiscus
    Adan Fiscus says:

    each time i used to read smaller articles or reviews that as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading at this time.|

    Reply
  14. Хвани ме
    Хвани ме says:

    Mаy I simply saу what a comfort tо discover ѕomebody wһo genuinely knoѡs ѡhat they are
    discussing oѵer tһе internet. Yօu actually know how to Ƅгing an issue to light and make
    іt іmportant. Moree and moгe people sһould ceck thiѕ out and
    understand thіs side of yokur story. I ⅽan’t bеlieve yߋu aren’t moгe popular given that yⲟu surely possess the gift.

    Ꮮook at myy homepage; Хвани ме

    Reply
  15. Lino Fees
    Lino Fees says:

    I think what you published made a lot of sense. But, think on this, suppose you wrote a catchier post title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, but suppose you added a post title to possibly grab people’s attention? I mean BLOG_TITLE is kinda vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create news headlines to get people interested. You might add a related video or a pic or two to grab people interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it might make your website a little bit more interesting.|

    Reply
  16. Elden Rocasah
    Elden Rocasah says:

    Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity on your submit is simply spectacular and i could suppose you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to take hold of your feed to stay up to date with imminent post. Thank you one million and please carry on the rewarding work.|

    Reply
  17. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that
    you just shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you
    for sharing.

    Reply
  18. Arlena Ankrum
    Arlena Ankrum says:

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I acquire in fact loved account your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing in your feeds and even I achievement you get right of entry to consistently rapidly.|

    Reply
  19. Trevor Blyze
    Trevor Blyze says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.|

    Reply
  20. Timmy Wurm
    Timmy Wurm says:

    I just could not go away your site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual information an individual provide on your guests? Is gonna be back incessantly in order to check up on new posts|

    Reply
  21. Domenic Tippey
    Domenic Tippey says:

    I feel this is among the such a lot significant info for me. And i’m happy studying your article. However wanna observation on few general issues, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Just right task, cheers|

    Reply
  22. Brice Lousteau
    Brice Lousteau says:

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after going through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!|

    Reply
  23. Wonda Coy
    Wonda Coy says:

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually understand what you are talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally talk over with my site =). We will have a hyperlink exchange arrangement among us|

    Reply
  24. Haywood Huntress
    Haywood Huntress says:

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Bless you!|

    Reply
  25. Danette Bottcher
    Danette Bottcher says:

    I’m not sure why but this blog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.|

    Reply
  26. Hai Niggemann
    Hai Niggemann says:

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100 sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks|

    Reply
  27. Ian Wolken
    Ian Wolken says:

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is fantastic, as well as the content!|

    Reply
  28. Lucas Gazaway
    Lucas Gazaway says:

    I’m really impressed with your writing talents and also with the format in your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s uncommon to peer a nice weblog like this one nowadays..|

    Reply
  29. Jordon Nestel
    Jordon Nestel says:

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Cheers|

    Reply
  30. Oma Kieser
    Oma Kieser says:

    Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!|

    Reply
  31. Jutta Ruic
    Jutta Ruic says:

    Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also create comment due to this good piece of writing.|

    Reply
  32. Cassi Macdonell
    Cassi Macdonell says:

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!|

    Reply
  33. Ethan Seward
    Ethan Seward says:

    This design is wicked! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!|

    Reply
  34. Wilburn Bauman
    Wilburn Bauman says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.|

    Reply
  35. Carole Skibicki
    Carole Skibicki says:

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one today.|

    Reply
  36. Sunni Labbadia
    Sunni Labbadia says:

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It’s always exciting to read content from other writers and use a little something from other web sites. |

    Reply
  37. Walker Ganis
    Walker Ganis says:

    I’m not sure why but this website is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.|

    Reply
  38. Robin Jessie
    Robin Jessie says:

    Hello! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!|

    Reply
  39. Jenny Moniot
    Jenny Moniot says:

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, great site!|

    Reply
  40. Herbert Munderville
    Herbert Munderville says:

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.|

    Reply
  41. Luke Breau
    Luke Breau says:

    whoah this blog is great i like studying your articles. Stay up the great work! You know, a lot of people are looking round for this information, you could aid them greatly. |

    Reply
  42. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I
    could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as
    yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  43. намайг ав
    намайг ав says:

    I lioke thе helpful informatiⲟn yoս supply іn үour
    articles. I’ll bookmark yߋur weblog and check again riցht here regularly.
    Ӏ’m moderately certain Ι wil learn many new stuff right һere!
    Gⲟod ludk for the folⅼowing!

    Also visit my webpage; намайг ав

    Reply
  44. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    Thank you for any other informative website. Where else could I get that
    kind of information written in such a perfect method? I’ve a mission that
    I’m just now running on, and I’ve been at the glance out
    for such information.

    Reply
  45. Connie Creagh
    Connie Creagh says:

    I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an shakiness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.|

    Reply
  46. Jennifer Froebe
    Jennifer Froebe says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Regards!|

    Reply
  47. Vernon Pearcey
    Vernon Pearcey says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?|

    Reply
  48. Kisha Brick
    Kisha Brick says:

    Hey there! I know this is sort of off-topic but I needed to ask. Does managing a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work? I’m brand new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!|

    Reply
  49. Elvis Can
    Elvis Can says:

    Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!|

    Reply
  50. Brandee Catacun
    Brandee Catacun says:

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will come back later on. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice day!|

    Reply
  51. Chuck Carosiello
    Chuck Carosiello says:

    I was recommended this blog by means of my cousin. I am not certain whether this submit is written by means of him as nobody else realize such specific approximately my problem. You’re amazing! Thank you!|

    Reply
  52. Carmelo Burrelli
    Carmelo Burrelli says:

    Hello there, I found your site by means of Google whilst looking for a related matter, your web site got here up, it seems to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Reply
  53. Ervin Depoyster
    Ervin Depoyster says:

    Thanks for any other informative website. The place else could I am getting that kind of info written in such a perfect manner? I have a venture that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been at the look out for such info.|

    Reply
  54. Harlan Holmquist
    Harlan Holmquist says:

    Hi there! This post could not be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I will send this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!|

    Reply
  55. Jorge Corsilles
    Jorge Corsilles says:

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you offer. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

    Reply
  56. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting
    article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough
    for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more
    useful than ever before.

    Reply
  57. http://tinyurl.com/
    http://tinyurl.com/ says:

    Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due
    to no backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

    Reply
  58. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    Wonderful work! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared around the internet.
    Shame on Google for not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and consult with my web site .
    Thank you =)

    Reply
  59. 78invest.fr
    78invest.fr says:

    Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I
    was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  60. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    Hello! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering
    if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and
    I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  61. Buy Proxy Servers
    Buy Proxy Servers says:

    The very core of your writing whilst appearing reasonable originally, did not really sit well with me after some time. Someplace within the sentences you managed to make me a believer but just for a short while. I however have a problem with your jumps in logic and you might do nicely to fill in those breaks. If you can accomplish that, I would undoubtedly be fascinated.

    Reply
  62. 온라인카지노
    온라인카지노 says:

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a
    very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to
    come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to
    create your theme? Excellent work!

    Reply
  63. informationskilde
    informationskilde says:

    I ᴡould like tߋ tһank youu fоr the efforts уоu’vе pսt iin writing this website.
    І realⅼy hpe to check oսt the sɑme high-grade blog
    posts from you ⅼater oon ɑs well. In faϲt, ʏour creative
    writing abilities һаѕ inspired mme to get my very oԝn blog now 😉

    Feel free tⲟ surf to my page :: informationskilde

    Reply
  64. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough
    time locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail.
    I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing
    it improve over time.

    Reply
  65. informatiebron
    informatiebron says:

    You гeally make it ѕeem so easy witһ oսr presentation ƅut I find tһis toipic
    to be actually somethіng ԝhich I thіnk I woulⅾ never understand.
    It sdems tooo complex ɑnd very broad for mе. Ι am loߋking forward fߋr уour next post, Ι’ll try tο
    get the hang of іt!

    my web pagе :: informatiebron

    Reply
  66. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like
    to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog
    you might be interested in hearing. Either way,
    great site and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.