13 Types of Common Pain                                                                                            

1. Distending pain.  Often occurs in the chest and hypochondriac region.  It is due to stagnation of function and activity of Chi.  It manifests in the head, eyes, chest and abdomen.  More often, this type of pain is caused by the stagnation of liver Chi or the abnormal function of the liver, such as hyperactivity of Yang Chi causing too much heat. It is also associated with period problems, when there is distending pain in the breasts and ribs.

2. Stabbing pain.   Sharp, stabbing pain as if being stabbed with a sharp instrument.  This type of pain indicates blood stasis and stagnation of Chi in the body, generally in the region where the pain is experienced.  It is quite often seen in heart disease or with cases of trapped nerve.

3. Moving pain.  This type of pain has no fixed location and is described as a shooting pain - sometimes here, sometimes there.  It often occurs in the joints of the four limbs and is more often due to rheumatism or back problems.

4. Stationary pain.  This type of pain is chronic, has a fixed location and does not move.  It is more often due to part of the body being exposed to drafts or dampness. Chinese call this “cold rheumatism” and it is commonly seen in neck pain,  frozen shoulder or the lower back. Stationary pain suggests blood stagnation.

 5. Tension pain.  This type of pain appears as blockages and feels like knots tight muscles.  Commonly seen on the shoulder, neck and upper back on both sides of the vertebrae.  This is due to cold and dampness causing the blockage of the  meridians.  It is made worse by emotions and stress.  Tension pain is quite often created by over exercise, generally in the location of the large muscles of the arms and legs. Both types of tension pain can be relieved by massage with deep pressure.

6. Cold pain.  An acute form of pain, accompanied with a cold sensation and which can be relieved by heat.  It is often caused by the invasion of cold virus into the meridians and collaterals.  One cause of cold pain can be seen in lower back problems which creates stiffness and results in circulation problems. 

7. Burning pain.  Pain with a burning sensation which can be alleviated by cooling.  Often occurs with sports injuries which result in excessive heat local to the injury and where pain is felt.  Also caused by Yin deficiency due to excessive heat in the interior.  Burning pain also indicates antibodies combating infection or injuries.

8. Colic pain.  Severe, sharp, acute pain and cramping in the abdomen which is due to pathological factors and physiological changes causing excessive syndromes in the body and blockages in the organs.  It can also be caused by liver and spleen disharmony, causing sharp pain in the stomach or diarrhea.

9. Dull pain.  Lingering aching sensation which is less aggressive.  It is often due to deficiency of Yin in the blood and deficiency of Yang in the Chi.  This dull pain belongs to deficiency syndromes.  Dull ache is also caused by liver energy attacking the stomach - this is often seen in indigestion.

10. Heavy pain.  This type of pain has the sensation of heaviness due to excessive dampness in the meridians causing Chi functional problems.  It is also the result of fluid circulation being obstructed, commonly seen in swollen limbs and fluid  retention.

11. Aching pain.  Feeling of aching and weariness.  It can occur to the entire body and is often due to the invasion of a virus or dampness syndrome.  Aching pain in the knees and loins indicates kidney deficiency.  Aching pain of the four limbs also suggests hormone deficiency or imbalance, commonly seen during women’s monthly cycle or menopause.  This type of pain may also be caused by wind syndrome attacking the joints and muscles.

12. Hollow pain.  Pain with a sensation of emptiness.  It is due to blood and Chi deficiency and the system’s lack of nutrition, commonly seen in deficiency-type headaches and some types of pain in the abdomen - such as hunger pain.

13. Bone aching pain. Pain in the joints and bones, commonly seen in  arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.  Early stages, pain when touched.  Later stages, progressive pain and swollen joints with difficulty to bend or move.  It is aggressive when its windy or raining on a cold day. This  can be inherited or from being brought up in a cold and damp environment, or it can be the result of an old injury to the joints or bones which hasn’t been treated properly. This may lead to a deformity of the joints and bones.

In addition, you may experience what you believe is pain when receiving treatment. This is not pain in the traditional sense. On the contrary, it is the sensation which arises from stimulating or relieving blocked areas—a relieving or welcoming feeling. In fact this is stimulation, not “pain”. The common factor which contributes to this sensation is fear which we may experience when letting go of old patterns, unlocking blocked energy, or trying something new. If the stimulation is too strong, breathe in deeply then out slowly and try to relax. You will feel a lot better later.

Common Problems with Pain

Physical pain is the body’s way of indicating there is something abnormal or there is a problem. The body may display a number of painful or aching sensations in different areas, serving as a warning signal, so that we can find out the reason and do something about it. If we seek treatment early enough, it may prevent further problems or even save a life. 

How can we tell what the problem is from the pain we experience? Different painful sensations in different areas and at different times can provide clues to what the problem is.

Example 1: A stabbing pain occurring in the middle of the buttock and shooting down to the back of the leg indicates that the sciatic nerve is being pressurized; this is commonly known as sciatica.

Example 2: A burning pain occurring in the low back and shooting down across the buttock to the outside of the leg indicates a lower back disc problem; this is commonly known as slipped-disc.

Example 3: A burning pain occurring at the base of the neck and on the shoulder—on one side or the other - and shooting down to the elbow and hand usually at the last two fingers may indicate a degeneration of the base of the neck joint.

Neck & Shoulder Pain

The number one most common problem is chronic shoulder and neck problems. The most common cause of the problem is strain injury to the shoulder. 

Strain  Injury usually occurs by doing one single thing repeatedly over a long period of time, for example manual work with hands or sports and exercise. In these cases, the pain usually  occurs on top of the shoulder around the deltoid muscles. It is associated with a dull ache or sharp pain with movements. Range of motion is generally normal but stiff. Treatment with Tui-Na  should be very easy to resolve these types of problems.

Frozen Shoulder
 is part of the ageing process, generally manifesting in middle-age occurring around 40 to 45 years of age onward. It is the most painful shoulder problem. The primary symptom is limited  range of  motion. It is generally caused by long-term exposure to cold, draft and damp or long-term overuse of the arm(s). Treatment of this syndrome is every other day to once a week. Treatment every other day should only take 10 sessions. If treatment is only once a week, it may take over a few months to recover.

Pain in the Neck is a chronic problem of the neck itself. The painful area will be on one side or the other. It can be on the upper part of the neck, middle part of the neck or the lower part of the neck. The pain in the upper part of the neck can cause headaches or migraine. Pain in  the middle part of the neck can cause sleeping and movement problems, while pain in the lower part of the neck can cause shoulder and hand problems.

Neck and Shoulder — or Cervical Spondylotic Syndrome — refers to neck problems related to the shoulder, arms and fingers. This is a chronic progressive degeneration of the joint with atrophy occurring on C6 , C7 or C8 which causes narrowing of the disc space. The resulting pain is a burning pain in the neck and shoulders, inflammation or aching sensations from the neck to the shoulder (upper trapezius muscle) and shooting  pain travelling down to the wrist and fingers. This is usually a problem associated with middle-age.  Tui–Na treatment has a very promising therapeutic effect; symptoms may be reversed with treatment. This symptom is often misdiagnosed as  carpal tunnel syndrome because of the associated pain and numbness in the hand(s).

Back Pain

The second most common painful problem is back pain, ranging anywhere from the upper back, middle back or lower back or all three areas.

1. Upper Back: Refers to the area near the shoulder blade (Middle Trapezius muscle). The muscles are just off the center. This is usually related to  arm movements, such as sports, manual work, and exercise causing nerves to become trapped and the movement of blood and energy through the muscles to become blocked. The sensation is aching or a stabbing pain. The pain is felt when taking a deep breath.

2. Middle Back: Refers to the area around the waist. Usually it’s muscular related and is associated with sports, too much exercise, sitting for long periods of time, wrong posture, or kidney problems. 

3. Lower Back: This is the most common area for back problems to occur. It all depends on how severe and what it’s related to. It can be muscular problems, disc problems, hormonal problems, or trapped nerves on the muscle. The problem can also be related to high impact, like car accidents or a fall, causing the vertebrae to be out of their normal position or narrowing  the gap. Muscular problems with a stiff back are often the result of playing sports, over exercise, manual work, or bending down to pick up heavy objects. All of this can develop into disc problems which is commonly known as slipped disc or herniated disc. The most acute condition with disc problems is limited movement, inability to walk or stand up, or sitting down which causes shooting pain down to the buttock and leg. The other related problem is hormonal such as during menstrual cycles or related period problems; the pain will resolve itself once the period is over. Degeneration of the lower back vertebrae can be related to the hip joints. Deterioration of the lower back and hip joints can cause mobility issues and sleeping disturbance.

4. Sciatica: This can develop from lower back pain especially from herniated discs, or it can develop on its own. When sciatica develops on its own, the patient usually doesn’t have much lower back pain or it is very mild. Sciatic pain originates from the Piriformis muscle in the gluteal region. The pain shoots down to the side or the back of the leg or even to the ankle. This is caused by over-use or infrequent use of the Piriformis muscle; subsequently, the muscles and the nerves are not getting enough blood supply. This can result in contractions and tight muscles, thus putting pressure on or squeezing the sciatic nerves.

Joint Pain

The third most common painful problem is hip joint problems. This is a chronic progressive syndrome which leads to deterioration of or arthritis in the hip joint. It is caused by over-exercise, sports or is inherited. In the early stages, the joint is tender to touch. In the middle stages, there is pain around the local area. In the later stages, there is more pain shooting down to the leg; the pain can be felt along the inside of the groin area and the whole joint becomes stiff. Adhesion builds up and mobility become increasing difficult. The patient often wakes up every night in pain. This syndrome is usually associated with the lower back pain. 

World of Pain

The Bare Hands Doctor - Master Tim Wong