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Understanding Pain: The Difference between Acute and Chronic Pain

Pain is part of the human experience. It ranges from mild (stubbing your toe) to severe (getting into a car accident). But, in most cases, pain is temporary.

When it is persistent, the pain reduces your quality of life and prevents you from enjoying yourself. If this is what you’ve been experiencing, it should be a cause for concern.

Pain can be classified into two categories, namely, acute pain and chronic pain. Pain treatment differs for both. Identifying your symptoms correctly is important so you can inform medical practitioners or specialists about them and get the right diagnosis. Knowing whether you have acute or chronic pain will help you pursue the right treatment or pain management programs, such as CFS Unravelled.

What is acute pain?

Acute pain is temporary, lasting anywhere from less than a minute to six months. It acts as a warning that your body is at risk and that your health has been compromised.

What causes acute pain?

This type of pain is caused by something specific, such as a cut, a bump on your head, or a broken bone. The pain will go away once the affected area has been treated. However, in some cases, the pain may remain as a lasting effect of the injury.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain lasts longer than six months. It is ongoing and often considered as a separate diagnosis.

woman holding her neck in pain

What causes chronic pain?

This type of pain typically stems from an initial injury. It then develops into a persistent ache after the affected nerves become damaged. In other cases, chronic pain is caused by an underlying health condition, such as endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia.

How do you treat pain?

As mentioned, treatment is specific to the type of pain you are experiencing. If you are suffering from acute pain, you need to have the initial injury treated before it gets worse. If you are suffering from chronic pain, you should consider visiting a specialist.

Why do you need to see a specialist?

Chronic pain is a complex condition, with most going undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Since there is seldom a direct cause for this type of pain, it becomes difficult for most physicians to identify it during their examinations.

Why is it important to understand pain?

Pain, especially chronic pain, can be debilitating. As a physical disorder, it can be exacerbated when left untreated. When this happens, additional ailments can develop over time.

  • Pain makes it difficult to carry out simple everyday tasks.
  • Pain keeps you from participating in activities you enjoy.
  • Pain affects your mental well-being, often resulting in increased irritability and fatigue.
  • Pain, in some cases, makes it difficult to eat, which worsens your physical health.

By understanding how pain may start or develop, you can identify the direct cause. Alternatively, you will know when to approach a specialist and what kind of specialist. Both help you get the treatment you need as soon as possible.

With the right information, you don’t have to suffer ‘in the dark.’ You’ll get education for chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, allowing you to manage them and improve your quality of life.

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