Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How are Chronic Pain & Acute Pain Different?


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One of the often overlooked characteristics of pain involves the differences between acute pain and chronic pain. While you may feel the same physical sensations, they are very different and call out to be handled differently. I want to continue discussing behavioral pain management on Somebody Heal Me, and I can't possibly write another article without covering these basic concepts first.

Acute Pain:
  • A warning of disease or injury to the body or to protect yourself from harm.
  • Lasts a relatively short time.
  • Is a message telling you to take steps to treat the pain.
  • Goes away when source of pain is treated or healed.
  • May be mild or severe.
  • Lasts less than three to six months.
  • Examples include a broken bone, a cut or labor & delivery.

Chronic Pain:
  • Persistent pain.
  • Does not indicate the presence of disease or injury.
  • Continues despite attempts to intervene and end it.
  • Not the result of an identifiable outside trigger.
  • Is considered a disease in itself.
  • Examples include chronic migraines, back pain, fibromyalgia & complex regional pain syndrome.

Sources:
Chronic Pain Information Page: NINDS
Acute vs. Chronic Pain
Do You Have Acute Pain or Chronic Pain?

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.