Chronic Pain vs. Acute Pain: What’s the Difference?

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Did you know that 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain? Are you one of these people? Or do you suffer from acute pain?

Don’t know what the difference is? Don’t worry! In this brief guide, we will explain the difference between chronic pain vs. acute pain.

Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is usually hard to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed as well. It is often caused by underlying issues and is defined by having pain for longer than 6 months. 

Many diseases cause chronic pain. Think of swollen joints in arthritis, chronic back pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia. 

If you are experiencing these pains for 3-6 months, usually after the initial injury should have healed, contact your medical professional to speak about treatment options. You may need physiotherapy, massage therapy, or another pain management specialist, and in some cases, surgery. 

What Is Acute Pain?

Acute pain on the other hand, is a warning sign that your body is compromised. This can be anything from a burn wound to a broken leg. Think of it as your body communicating with you that it is in danger and that you need rest and a safe space. 

Acute pain can still last up to 6 months, though, but goes away once the wound is healed over. A common misconception is that acute pain is mild and temporary, but that all depends on the type of injury you sustained.

Common Body Aches and Pains

Every person has experienced pain in some form or another. It is, unfortunately, a part of life. There are some common pains, however, that are easily identified and relatable.

Back Pain

Chronic back pain is the number one complaint in many Americans today. This is often caused due to the way we sit, how we carry things, and our posture. 

Back pain can put a big dent in your way of life. Most movements we make include our back muscles, and if the muscular and nervous systems of your back (amongst other factors) are not working properly, you will have a difficult time. 

You will first experience acute pain, which is your body telling you that there is trouble. And if it is not treated properly, you may run into chronic pain issues as well. This can be more difficult to treat, so listen to your body and give it the rest, stretches, and exercises it needs.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is another common issue among Americans. Similar to back pain, it is often caused by our posture, the way we sit at our desks, and the type of mattress and pillow we use at night.

You may have experienced a kink in your neck at some point. We usually wake up with it because we slept funny. This is acute pain.

It can be remedied with rest and stretches. Sometimes relaxing the muscle with hot and cold treatment will do the trick as well. 

Be careful that the acute pain does not develop into chronic pain, just like with the back. Chronic neck pain can lead to headaches if not treated properly.

Chronic Pain vs. Acute Pain: A Clear Difference

As you can see, there is a difference between chronic pain vs. acute pain. If one is not treated properly, it can lead to another. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns and the pain is not going away.

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