Acute vs. Chronic Pain

We all feel pain, but not all pain is the same. Did you know that there are different kinds of pain? Two examples are acute and chronic. So what are the differences between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain:

This kind of pain usually begins suddenly and feels sharp. Acute pain can be mild and last a few moments or it can be severe and last for a longer period of time. Since acute pain serves as a warning sign that there is something wrong, the pain should go away once you are treated for the underlying cause of pain.

Common causes of acute pain are:

  • Surgery
  • Broken bones
  • Dental work
  • Burns or cuts
  • Labor and childbirth

Chronic pain:

Chronic pain is the kind of pain that persists after the underlying cause has healed. This is because the pain signals remain active in the nervous system. This kind of pain can have physical and emotional effects, such as tense muscles, limited mobility, lack of energy, depression, anger, anxiety, etc…  Chronic pain may originate from an injury, but some people do suffer chronic pain without any past injury.

Common chronic pains include:

  • Headache
  • Low back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves)
  • Psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside)

It is important to know what kind of pain you have in order to get proper treatment. Remember, always see your doctor if any kind of pain persists.

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