Many people are surprised to learn that, in the medical arena, there are different types of pain. And when it comes to demobilizing conditions that are both common and which require a doctor’s care, there are two primary types of pain to consider – chronic pain and acute pain.
So what do these types of pains entail, and how do physicians address them? Read on to discover everything you need to know about acute pain versus chronic pain and the appropriate next steps for either of these common but life-changing conditions.
What Is Acute Pain?
Acute pain comes on suddenly and is generally caused by something that is specific and readily identifiable. It is sharp and very noticeable, but it does not last longer than six months, and it typically goes away when there is no longer an underlying cause that is linked to the pain.
Examples of acute pain include the following:
- Pain due to surgery
- Broken bones
- Pain due to dental work
- Burns or cuts
- Other injuries, such as sports injuries or accidents
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than three months, and which does not go away on its own. Typically, physicians have a harder time diagnosing and treating chronic pain because the cause can be vague or linked to several other conditions or health problems. The appropriate treatment may not be immediately clear.
The pain itself can vary widely as well and can go from sharp and piercing to dull and continuous. Simply put, pain signals may have initially started with an accident, injury, or even a surgery remain active in the nervous system long after the initial incident. They do not vanish without appropriate treatment.
Example of chronic pain include the following:
- Pain due to a surgery
- Nerve pain
- Back pain
- Fibromyalgia pain
Which Is Harder to Treat – Chronic Pain or Acute Pain?
When it comes to treatment, chronic pain is harder to address simply because the causes and effective treatment requires much more research to identify.
Chronic pain can even stem from no identifiable cause, which makes it even trickier to tackle. Conversely, acute pain can go away on its own, or a doctor can easily identify what has caused the pain and can prescribe antibiotics, pain relievers, or other medications as needed.
So If You Have Chronic Pain Versus Acute Pain, What’s the Next Step?
If you have chronic pain versus acute pain, seek out a specialist as opposed to a general physician. A pain management specialist has a better ability to identify the source of the issue and to pinpoint the appropriate next steps without a major surgery or a reliance on potentially addictive pain relievers.
Simply put, to address chronic pain, you need more than generalized care and treatments. So reach out to an interventional pain management specialist today and get started on addressing a common problem that won’t go away on its own.