Pain is a term that encompasses many different experiences, and this can confuse when trying to distinguish between the types of pain. When it comes to acute vs. chronic pain, some distinct differences can help you better understand your situation and make informed decisions about how to manage it.
Acute pain is a typical and expected body response to an injury or illness. It can range from mild and localized to intense and widespread. It typically begins suddenly, lasting up to three months before dissipating. Acute pain serves as an alert that something is wrong in the body and needs attention or medical treatment.
a) An injury, such as a burn or cut
b) A broken bone
e) Soreness from overuse of muscles
g) Illnesses like the flu or bronchitis.
a) A sharp or dull ache
b) Stabbing pain
c) Burning sensations
d) Throbbing sensations
e) Radiating pain that moves from one body area to another.
Chronic pain is ongoing pain that persists for an extended period, usually lasting three months or more. Compared to acute pain, which is sharp and generally subsides shortly after the initial stimulus ends, chronic pain can linger long after a cause has been treated. It may be localized to one area of the body (e.g., lower back pain) or maybe more diffuse (e.g., fibromyalgia). In some cases, chronic pain is caused by an underlying medical condition that has yet to be diagnosed or treated. Common causes of chronic pain include arthritis, herniated discs, and nerve entrapment.
Here are some symptoms of chronic pain:
– Pain that persists for weeks, months, or even years
– Pain localized to one area of the body
– Pain that may worsen with specific activities and movements
– Sensitivity to touch, cold, or heat
– Difficulty sleeping due to pain
– Weakness or fatigue
– Difficulty concentrating
Acute or chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities and quality of life, so it is essential to develop a plan for reducing or eliminating the source of discomfort. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment options may include:
This method is used to help strengthen weakened muscles and increase flexibility, as well as improve range of motion. Physical therapy can also relieve pain caused by tendinitis, muscle strains, and other acute or chronic injuries.
Pain medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms in the short term. Long-term use of certain medications may lead to dependence or tolerance, so doctors may suggest other options if needed.
Trigger point injections can be used to provide temporary relief from muscle or joint pain. This procedure involves the injection of a numbing medication directly into a trigger point, reducing tension and providing relief for up to several months.
Epidural steroid injections are used to treat pain caused by herniated discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and other chronic back issues. This procedure involves the injection of a numbing medication directly into the epidural space around the spine.
Surgery may be recommended when all other treatments have failed to correct underlying issues such as damaged nerves or herniated discs. Call Central States Pain Clinic for the best pain management clinic in Iowa. We are experts in acute and chronic pain, so you can find relief, whatever your needs.