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Managing Pain - Acute Vs. Chronic Pain
Pain is a complex issue that can affect multiple systems of the body. Everyone’s health and bodies are unique, which make managing pain an individualized issue. Pain is typically categorized as either acute or chronic.
Acute pain is pain that comes on suddenly and can be caused by an injury such as a broken bone, or sudden illness. Acute pain is usually described by people as sharp or severe pain that comes on all of a sudden. This type of pain is temporary and treatable with short-term medical management.
Chronic pain is pain that people feel over a long period of time. Chronic pain is persistent and can get better or worse over time but is typically present every day for more than several months. Some people with chronic pain suffer from back problems, illnesses such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, or cancer, and even nerve damage caused by conditions such as diabetes. Oftentimes, chronic pain can be difficult to treat, which is why a doctor will want to identify the underlying cause of the discomfort before prescribing pain medication.
According to the U.S. Pain Foundation, an estimated 100 million American adults live with chronic pain. [Source: U.S. Pain Foundation]
Chronic pain often affects a person’s whole life including overall quality of life and productivity. It is often associated with anxiety, stress, fatigue, and depression in those who suffer from long-term, chronic pain conditions.