There are two types of pain, Acute, and Chronic. They respond differently and therefore must be diagnosed and treated differently.
Acute pain is often defined as, “any pain that lasts less than 3-6 months and is directly related to soft tissue damage or trauma.” The cause of acute pain varies, the most common is due to trauma, sports injuries, auto accidents, or slips and falls. This pain is generally located in the soft tissues and responds well to medicines such as pain killers and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, massage, rest, and heat & ice treatment. Anxiety is often present with acute pain sufferers.
Chronic Pain is often defined as “any pain lasting more than 6 months and adversely affects the individual’s well-being.” Even after the soft tissue injury has healed and acute pain has diminished chronic pain can still be felt. Chronic pain mostly involves the connective tissue, nerves, discs, ligaments cartilages & joints and is generally a dull, aching poorly localized pain. Chronic pain does not respond as well to pain medicines, and other treatments that acute pain does, because of the type of tissues it affects. These tissues require a sequential system of loading and unloading exercises in order to rehabilitate and heal.
Often people suffering from chronic pain claim that their problems started with an accident of some kind, while others have no idea of the cause. Chronic pain, which affects more than 100 million individuals in the US alone, is real and a personal experience that cannot be measured like other health care conditions.
|Acute Pain||Chronic Pain|
|Cause generally known||Cause often unknown|
|Short term 3-6 months||Long term longer than 6 months|
|Responds well to medications||Does not respond well to medications|
|Can still do daily activities||Can no longer do daily activities|
|Red tissue||White tissue|
|R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)||
Chronic pain is difficult to diagnose. Often, the treating professional is unable to pinpoint the actual cause of the pain, therefore passing it off as psychosis. Chronic pain affects a person’s total wellbeing and can hinder a person’s return to normal daily activities as well as the emotional effects and depression brought on by constant unexplainable pain.