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6 Different Types of My Chronic Pain


Over the years, I’ve noticed several different kinds of pain, some while watching and getting to know others, some while experiencing them myself. People (mainly doctors and friends and family, sometimes acquaintances or even strangers) have asked me how my conditions feel many times.

Eventually, I put together a bit of a guide, a way for others to map out or understand how I’m currently doing, a quick “cheat sheet” based on a handful of key words (not always those in bold, although they help to make connections).

Here are the kinds I experience on a regular basis:

1. Stabbing – shooting and sudden pains mostly in my stomach, yet occasionally elsewhere (like my back, primarily due to scoliosis).

2. Prickling – everywhere, but usually in my shoulders and upper back. Occurs more after I take showers or if I haven’t for a while, for some reason. There’s crawling, too, which feels similar, only heavier, as if bugs are scurrying across my skin.

3. Tingling – a lot more painful than it sounds, stinging and lingering neuropathy, most often in hands/feet.

4. Numbness – deadened, highly uncomfortable, disconcerting feeling which frequently leads to/comes with stiffness/inability to move limbs.

5. Burning – largely in my eyes/throat, skin always feels dry, even when I’m
hydrated/sweating/in a relatively cool space (it’s difficult for my body to regulate temperature).

6. Rotting – deep, deep aching in my bones (now also teeth). This was how I
first described the pain in my legs to my primary care physician and neurologist, and to others when they would ask as, even though I knew it might be perceived as overly dramatic/descriptive, it was the only word that felt remotely accurate.

Everything aches, only to varying degrees. It’s always widespread, but differs and often abruptly, causing me to jerk sporadically (see myoclonic jerk) which sometimes makes for awkward conversation, with my then trying to explain the underlying pain, what went unseen and unfelt by someone else.

Even though this is just my experience, hopefully this helps give some idea, as to its variety, prevalence, and resulting severity.

What kind(s) do you experience? How would you describe it?

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