Acute Pain Vs Chronic Pain: What’s the Difference

Acute Pain Vs Chronic Pain: What’s the Difference

Those that are experiencing pain may not want to hear this, but pain is actually quite important as far as the normal functioning and the health of the body is concerned. This is because, even though it may be unpleasant and debilitating, it plays an important role in indicating to us that there is something wrong in our bodies, that needs attending to. If we never felt any pain, and there are people with such a condition, then we wouldn’t be able to tell if something had gone wrong with our bodies or if we had suffered injuries and damage and as such we would suffer tremendous health complications, all because we wouldn’t be able to know when there was a problem with our bodies. This is the reason why it is recommended that if we are experiencing pain, we shouldn’t ignore it as this is usually a sign that we have a problem as far as our body is concerned. While pain may be irritating and may stop as from carrying out our responsibilities or going on with our normal routines, it is helpful and should be taken seriously to prevent complications. There are different types of pain, but for the purposes of this article we shall take a look at the two main types of pain; acute pain and chronic pain, and the difference between the two.

One of the main differences between the two is that while acute pain usually is immediate and doesn’t last long, usually for less than three months, chronic pain persists for longer than that and may even be a lifetime thing one has to deal with. Another major difference between the two is that, as is covered in detail over at, while acute pain goes away after the underlying issues causing it is addressed and treated, chronic pain may continue even after the underlying issue causing it has been treated and addressed. This means that while one is able to go back to normal functioning after the underlying issue causing the acute pain is addressed, for chronic pain, the pain signals in the body remain active even after the underlying issue is addressed. Chronic pain is also known to cause more than just pain as it can lead to decreased range of motion, muscle spasms, loss and changes in appetite, fatigue, weakness as well as leading to psychological and mental issues such as anxiety, irritability as well as depression. This means chronic pain makes it difficult for one to go back to normal functioning and therefore greatly impacts on one’s quality of life.

When looking at how to differentiate between acute pain and chronic pain, we can also take a look at their causes. Some of the common causes of acute pain include bone fractures, labor and childbirth, passing of kidney stones, surgery and post-surgical pain, burns, cuts, sprains and strains of body parts, dental work among others. However, as far as chronic pain is concerned, while it may be due to an injury, back sprains, prolonged illness, it may also be difficult to identify an underlying cause in some instances. Conditions that are commonly associated with chronic pain include headaches and migraines, cancer, nerve pain, fibromyalgia pain, back pain, arthritis among others, all of which are covered in great detail by the subject matter experts over at For those instances of chronic pain with an underlying cause, it is important to understand what it is in order to device a way to manage it since what may work for chronic migraines and headaches may not work for arthritis. As far as chronic pain is concerned, patience is important in identifying the underlying cause if any and in its management, both from the doctor and the patient.

Speaking of treatment, another major difference between acute pain and chronic pain is the fact that while acute pain is responsive to many different types of treatment, chronic pain is unresponsive to many treatments. This means, as far as acute pain is concerned, the underlying cause can easily be identified and treated to alleviate the pain completely. For instances of chronic pain however, it is quite a challenge to identify the underlying cause and to come up with the right course of action as far as managing it is concerned. Another difference lies in the fact that while most treatments for acute pain are harmless to the body, some treatments as far as chronic pain is concerned are harmful and may cause more harm than good. It is also worth noting that while it may be pretty straight forward to identify the specific cause behind acute pain, it is not always the case where chronic pain is concerned. This, according to the subject matter experts over at, means that people with no apparent damage to the body or past injury can suffer from chronic pain.

The above are some of the differences between acute and chronic pain, with more on this and other topics to be found over at


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