What is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain?

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Pain is one of your body’s most effective ways to communicate with you. Whether it’s when you touch a hot stove or sprain an ankle, pain is your body’s way of saying something went wrong. Pain can be a little more complex than that sometimes, especially when it lasts for a long time. At Aether Medicine in Wayne, PA, board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Dr. Asare Christian helps patients understand, take control, and manage pain. Pain can seriously limit your ability to do what you want, whether it’s acute pain or chronic pain. Fortunately, pain management can help you address pain – so you can get back to living your life.

What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Everyone has experienced pain at some point in their lives. From headaches to a stubbed toe to ongoing back pain, there’s really no end to the type of pain you might experience.

While there are many kinds of pain, it’s usually described as either acute or chronic.

Acute pain happens quickly, and it’s caused by something specific (like a cut or a burn). Then, the pain goes away when that cause goes away. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is long-lasting. It may also continue well beyond when a known cause has been treated.

What is acute pain?

Acute pain occurs suddenly, like when you fall or get a papercut. Its cause is known and very specific, and it doesn’t last longer than six months. When the cause for acute pain goes away, the pain does, too.

Some causes of acute pain include:

  • Broken bones

  • Surgery

  • Burns

  • Cuts

Easing acute pain is often straightforward. It may require medication, time to heal, or another treatment. However, once acute pain goes away, you can resume your life as usual – without pain.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is another story. It’s long-lasting (longer than six months). Chronic pain can stick around, even after the cause is gone or healed. This may be because pain signals remain in your nervous system for a long time – for weeks, months, or even years.

While acute pain is more sudden, chronic pain can feel different. It may include muscular aches, pain in your joints, or burning or squeezing sensations.

Chronic pain is usually linked to:

  • Headaches

  • Health conditions, such as cancer or arthritis

  • Nerve pain

  • Back pain

Sometimes, chronic pain has no apparent cause.

Chronic pain can lead to more than just the pain itself. It can also cause physical symptoms, like a lack of energy or lack of appetite, and emotional symptoms, like depression, anger, and anxiety.

How can pain management relieve acute and chronic pain?

Whether your pain is acute or chronic, pain is not fun to deal with. It can put a damper on your daily activities and life in general.

Fortunately, at Aether Medicine, Dr. Christian helps patients in Wayne, PA experience pain relief using pain management.

Pain management involves a wide variety of nonsurgical services and treatments that address your unique needs, and help heal your mind, body, and spirit. Some pain management services include:

  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation

  • Regenerative medicine

  • Pain medicine

  • Neurotoxin medicine

  • Musculoskeletal medicine

  • Complementary alternative medicine

No matter your pain symptoms, Dr. Christian can develop a treatment plan to address your pain.

Experience relief from acute and chronic pain at Aether Medicine in Wayne, PA

No one should experience pain that impacts their daily life. At Aether Medicine, Dr. Asare Christian can help you find pain relief – whether you’re dealing with acute or chronic pain. Schedule an appointment in Wayne. PA to learn more about how you can find pain relief today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.