Types of pain

There are many types of pain. Pain can be described or categorised depending on what parts of the body are affected or how long the pain lasts.

Learn more about these types of pain:


Listen to our podcast on Managing Cancer Pain


Acute pain

Pain that starts suddenly and lasts a short time, possibly for a few days or weeks. It may be mild or severe. Acute pain usually occurs because the body is hurt or strained in some way, but it generally disappears when the body has healed.


Chronic pain

Pain that lasts for three months or more. Chronic pain may be due to an ongoing problem, but it can develop even after any tissue damage has healed.


Breakthrough pain

A flare-up of pain that can occur despite taking regular pain medicine. It may happen because the dose of medicine is not high enough or because the pain is worse at different times of the day. Other causes of breakthrough pain include anxiety or illnesses. For more on this, see Common questions about opioids.


Nerve (neuropathic) pain

Pain caused by pressure on nerves or the spinal cord, or by nerve damage. It can come and go. People often describe nerve pain as burning or tingling, or as “pins and needles”. Nerve damage to the hands and feet is called peripheral neuropathy.


Bone pain

Pain caused by cancer spreading to the bones and damaging bone tissue in one or more areas. It is often described as dull, aching or throbbing, and it may be worse at night.


Soft tissue pain

Pain caused by damage to or pressure on soft tissue, including muscle. The pain is often described as sharp, aching or throbbing.


Visceral pain

Pain caused by damage to or pressure on internal organs. This type of pain can be difficult to pinpoint. It may cause some people to feel sick in the stomach (nauseous).


Referred pain

Pain that is felt in an area of the body away from the cause of the problem (e.g. a swollen liver can cause pain in the right shoulder).


Localised pain

Pain that occurs directly where there’s a problem (e.g. pain in the back due to a tumour pressing on nerves in that area).


Phantom pain

A pain sensation in a body part that is no longer there, such as breast pain after the breast has been removed. This type of pain is very real. Phantom pain can be difficult to control with medicines, and other strategies often need to be used.

– Ann


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Pain and Cancer.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in September 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Work and cancer
Information for employees, employers and workplaces dealing with cancer

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP