Types of Pain


What is Pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience. Every animal is different and individual animals will have very different experiences of the same pain. In non-verbal species it is not always easy to identify and quantify pain and unfortunately pain is not always easy to treat.


Are there Different Types of Pain?

In general, there are three types of pain, based on where in the body the pain is felt:

  • Somatic pain (from bones, muscles and skin)
  • Visceral pain (from internal organs)
  • Neuropathic pain (from nerves and spine)

The three pain types can be felt at the same time depending on the type of injury and they may require different types of pain medications. Pain of all three types can be either acute or chronic. Acute (sudden pain) is necessary in terms of survival and signals a threat to the animal. However, pain that is ongoing (chronic) does not usually have any beneficial effect and needs to be treated.


What is Somatic Pain?

Somatic pain is the result of an injury to part of the body such as a muscle or a bone. When one of these tissues is damaged, pain sensors send pain messages to the brain and the spinal cord. The pain feels as if it is in one place, it is constant and often aches or throbs. Somatic pain is caused by inflammation, repetitive trauma or excessive activity and it is usually relieved by rest and pain killers.


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Anaesthesia and Analgesia

Find out more

To assist owners in understanding more about Anaesthesia and Analgesia, we have put together a range of information sheets to talk you through the some of the main areas of pain management at Willows.