3 common types of pain in TCM and what they mean 常见的三种疼痛性质

Updated: Jan 25


Abdominal Pain 腹痛

When you present with symptoms of pain in any parts of your body to your TCM physician, he/she may often ask you to describe the pain, to which many of us may answer “it’s just… painful…”.


In TCM, knowing the type of pain can help to diagnose the condition more accurately. Here are 3 of the most common types of pain one may encounter:

1. Burning Pain (灼痛)

Burning pain refers to pain accompanied by a burning sensation or a feeling of heat in the area. Common examples are burning pain in the stomach due to excess stomach acid, or sore throat accompanied with a hot feeling in the throat. TCM usually attributes such pain to “heat”.

If this is a case of “excess heat” (known as实热), TCM practitioners may prescribe cooling herbs that extinguish the fire.

If this is a case of deficiency in Yin (阴虚) causing the heat (thus known as虚热), herbs that replenish the Yin may be prescribed. (Think of it as: a forest that is dry is more susceptible to burning, and adding water (Yin) to the forest will help to cool it down)

2. Cold Pain (冷痛)

Cold pain refers to pain accompanied by feeling of coldness. Such pain often occur due to an encounter with something cold, e.g. cold pain in the stomach after eating too much ice cream, or joint pain in cold weather.

In such cases, warming herbs will be needed to expel the cold, or to replenish Yang energy. In the case of cold pain in the stomach, ginger (either fresh or dried) is often a common herb used to expel the cold, and to warm the stomach and spleen. In the absence of other herbs, boiling ginger slices to make ginger tea or using instant ginger tea powder is a good and easy home remedy.

> Related article: Avoid cold drinks to prevent future health complications

3. Bloating pain (胀痛)

Bloating pain refers to pain accompanied with a bloating/swelling sensation, such as tummy ache with bloatedness after a meal. TCM usually attributes such pain to stagnation of Qi (气滞). Treatment thus involves herbs that can move the Qi (行气) and clear the stagnation. In the case of tummy ache with bloatedness, herbs such as mandarin orange peel are often used to influence the Qi movement of the spleen so as to regulate digestion.



当病人因疼痛而寻医时经常未能描叙疼痛的性质。在中医学里,清楚疼痛的种类将能协助医师做出更准确的诊断,以下是常见的三种疼痛性质:

一, 灼痛

灼痛指疼痛兼灼热感的症状,例如因胃酸过多而胃脘灼痛,或常伴灼热感的咽痛。中医把灼痛解为于“热”有关。

若医师诊断为热邪旺盛的“实热”证,将用清热泻火之药物治疗。

若是因阴虚而导致的“虚热”证,则以补阴来治疗。(阴虚导致热证,正如树林过干燥而易着火,而浇水(补阴)能制约热气,以避免火灾)

二,冷痛

冷痛指疼痛伴有冷感,而经常与接触冷事物或冷天气有关,例如过食冰淇淋导致胃脘冷痛,或遇到冷天气时关节疼痛加剧。

遇到冷痛时,中医常用温性药物治疗,以驱散寒邪,或补益阳气。胃脘冷痛常应用生姜或干姜以温中散寒。姜片可单用煮成姜茶或饮用速溶姜茶均为简便的家庭处方。

〉有关文章:避免冷饮将可减少未来的并发症

三,胀痛

胀痛指疼痛兼有胀感症状。中医认为这是“气滞”的现象。胀痛最常见于饭后腹部胀痛。治疗方法具有“行气”,以推动身体之气,避免气的停滞。腹部胀痛常应用陈皮调理脾脏气的运行,以调节消化系统。