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Different types of pain

We are all vulnerable to experiencing pain in various forms at different points in our lives - in fact, over 10 million of us experience general aches and pains on a regular basis. No matter what form it takes, pain can strike anywhere in the body at any time and the pain signal is just our body's way of telling us that something's wrong and without it we would be completely unaware that a certain area of the body needs attention.

No matter where on the body is affected, the pain signals will travel from the source along the peripheral nervous system up the spinal cord to the brain. Pain is mostly felt when there is damage or injury to tissue in the body, which causes a release of chemicals called prostaglandins that amplify these pain signals up to the brain and eventually leads to swelling and inflammation in the injured or damaged area.

Back pain:

Because the back is such a complex structure made up of bones, nerves and muscles, it can often be difficult to pinpoint a cause of back aches and pains. Most cases of back aches are not caused by serious damage and it could be triggered by something incredibly simple that causes it to develop gradually over time.

Causes could include bending in awkward positions for long periods of time, lifting and carrying heavy objects incorrectly, sitting or driving in an uncomfortable position, twisting, over-stretching or over-use of the muscles which is usually due to sports or repetitive strain.

Neck pain:

Neck pain and stiffness is a very common and is usually relieved in a few days; however some people may suffer from neck pains quite badly, but it's still not a serious problem. There are many factors that can contribute to neck pain as a result of an injury or damage to the neck's soft tissues. The most common causes are sleeping in an awkward position all night, using computer keyboards for long periods of time and even sitting in a draught. Anxiety and stress is also a top cause as it creates tension and pain. There may also be no actual cause of pain which is determined as ?non-specific' pain.

Knee pain:

Pain in the knee joint is a common problem and is a result of tight muscles. Our knees are the joints that are most vulnerable to damage and pain because they are taking our full weight while walking and take extra force when running or jumping. That's why knee pain is considered to be a common sports injury from overworking and straining the muscles. Damage to the knee can cause a feeling of sore, tight muscles and limited mobility.

Menstrual pain:

Unfortunately for some women, menstrual cramps are inevitable but they are not a signal of damaged muscles. They affect around half of women and can vary in severity. These cramps occur when the womb's muscle wall contracts and compresses blood vessels, which reduces oxygen supply and causes a release of prostaglandins (the pain hormone). Most women will experience this type of pain in the stomach, particularly the lower abdomen, and it could spread to the back and thighs.