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Feelings of pain can range from mild and occasional to severe and constant. Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain may be caused by many events or circumstances, including surgery, broken bones, etc. Unrelieved acute pain may lead to chronic pain, which may persist even after the original injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years and can have lasting physical effects. Tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite can occur, in addition to emotional effects, such as depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such effects may hinder a person's ability to return to normal work or leisure activities. We feel each individual is the best judge of his or her own pain. Our medical staff takes a multidisciplinary approach in addressing your pain management concerns, and we work with you to determine the best treatment options. Depending upon your diagnosis, pain may be treated in a number of ways. After a comprehensive review of the patient's history and current health, a care plan is developed that may include a wide array of interventional pain management procedures & techniques such as: See our Patient Education page.

Understanding The Difference Between Nerve Pain and Muscle Pain

man holding shoulder with diagram of muscles and nerves

Nerve pain and muscle pain may seem similar. But when examined more closely, their differences demonstrate how one type of pain does truly compare to the other.

How nerve pain happens

Think of nerves as the electrical lines that make up the central nervous system. They connect your brain to your body, helping both connect and communicate. Just like wires that can short circuit, nerves can become damaged or injured and stop working the way they should. A broken nerve begins sending wrong signals to the brain. For example, it might tell your brain that your foot is burning even when you aren’t doing anything that could be causing the sensation.

What nerve pain feels like

Ironically, nerve pain isn’t often described as “painful.” Other more specific descriptors are used, including:

  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • “Pins and Needles”
  • Stabbing sensation
  • Electric-shock pain

How to recognize the difference between nerve and muscle pain

Some people may think they have a pulled muscle when in fact the pain stems from nerve damage. Consider the following differences:

  • Muscle pain is usually caused by a physical injury
  • Once an injury heals, muscle pain subsides (nerve pain often lingers)
  • Muscle pain is described as sore and achy, but nerve pain is described in other more specific ways
  • Pain medicine provides relief to muscle pain but not nerve pain

 

Many options exist for treating nerve pain such as exercise, relax techniques, setting manageable goals and utilizing nerve pain medication and treatment options. Schedule an appointment with a physician to discuss your medical history and diagnosis and learn what options may work best for you.

 

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