Chronic Vs. Acute Pain

Pain comes from many sources and can have a completely different effect from one person to another. Some people tolerate high levels of pain better than others deal with minor pain. You might think that pain is just pain, without definition, but there are actually different types. 

When you visit an orthopaedic surgeon for a joint or bone problem, he or she will probably ask you about the pain and symptoms you are experiencing. It is very helpful for the doctor to know what type of pain you are suffering, since that can lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment. Pain breaks down into two categories: Chronic or Acute Pain. Typically your type of pain can be defined by its duration and severity.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is usually a sustained type of pain that is almost always present in your body. It can persist even after an injury has been treated and healed, and even without a notable cause. Sometimes an injury or illness causes damage to the nerves in the body, so pain signals are sent even without a trigger to set them off. The result is the feeling of pain. Chronic pain can last for years and have a significant emotional and psychological effect on a person. This condition can be very stressful, especially when it seems that your pain is unexplained.

Common examples of chronic pain are headaches, back pain, and joint pain. Age can bring on more of this type of pain, and the science of pain management is usually used to keep the pain tolerable enough for you to function in daily life.

Acute Pain

An orthopaedic surgeon considers acute pain to be a warning cry in the body. Patients with acute pain report it using words like “Sharp,” “throbbing,” “stabbing,” to describe the feeling. Acute pain is generally sudden and is often the result of an injury. Broken bones, a brutal knee injury, a laceration, or some other cause is the reason for the pain. Once the cause is treated and corrected, the acute pain fades away. Athletes who have torn a ligament, ruptured a tendon, or jammed fingers will experience acute pain.

Pain is definitely no laughing matter and can be challenging to treat. Understanding what type of pain you are having can help your orthopaedic surgeon create an effective plan to resolve your problem.

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