Difference Between Pain and Inflammation

Our bodies communicate with external environment using our sensory organs. Depending on the stimuli and its effects on our body and mind our responses vary. Out of the things that we humans “feel” pain is one of the strongest feelings. Inflammation, on the other hand, is a response our bodies show. Inflammation is the response for infections. There is a very tight relationship between pain and inflammation, but they definitely do not mean the same thing.

What is a Pain?

Pain is a feeling. According to the definition given by The International Association for the Study of Pain, “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual and potential tissue damage, or described in terms of damage.” Pain is unpleasant, but it does not make the pain an unhealthy thing. Pain is healthy because it signals us to withdraw from the painful situation, to protect the body while it heals. It also motivates one to avoid such situations in the future. Therefore, pain is a way of learning. Pain usually disappears after the stimulus which causes pain is removed. But sometimes pain continues even after the stimulus is removed. Some times pain can arise without any clear stimulus to cause the pain.

Pain can be of so many types. Physical pain and emotional pain are two main types. Whatever the type, pain can have negative effects on the day to day work. Pain is one of the main symptoms in almost all medical conditions. Therefore, it is the main reason why people visit doctors. Pain should not be taken carelessly. It is important that the reasons for pain should be found and dealt with immediately.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a complex biological response. It is the body’s way of letting us know when we are infected by anything harmful to the normal functioning of the body. It is a part of the innate immunity. Irrespective of which foreign substance or microorganism is responsible for the infection our bodies show a set of symptoms known as inflammatory response or inflammation. The main signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function. These signs occur because plasma and leukocytes are produced rapidly to fight the foreign substance moving and accumulating in the site of infection.

Inflammation can be either acute of chronic. Acute inflammation is the response to harmful stimuli. Chronic inflammation or prolonged inflammation causes a shift of types of cells present in the site of infection which heals and destroys the tissue simultaneously. Chronic inflammation cannot be considered healthy and can lead to diseases such as hay fever, rheumatoid arthritis, arthrosclerosis, and also cancer.

What is the difference between Pain and Inflammation?

• Pain is a feeling but inflammation is not. It is a complex biological response.

• Pain can originate from physical and psychological causes, but inflammation originates from infection of foreign substances.

• Pain can be one of the many signs which indicate an infection. It can be considered as a classical sign of inflammation.

• Pain does not cause inflammation, but inflammation causes pain.