Pain is a natural body response which causes an uncomfortable or unpleasant feeling – often alerting the person that something is wrong. Each individual has a unique threshold for pain, and therefore each person is the best judge of his or her own pain.
What is acute pain?
Acute pain typically comes on suddenly and is caused by something specific. Acute pain is often described as a sharp pain, and usually does not last longer than 6 months. Acute pain diminishes completely when the underlying cause of the pain is gone.
Causes of acute pain can include:
- Broken bones
- Dental work
- Labor and childbirth
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is a type of pain that is ongoing and typically lasts longer than 6 months. This type of pain can continue even after the illness or injury that caused it has healed or gone away. These pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Some people may experience chronic pain even when there is no past injury or damage causing it.
Causes of chronic pain can include:
- Nerve pain
- Back pain
- Fibromyalgia pain
Those who suffer with chronic pain can have physical effects that are stressful on the body. These include tense muscles, limited mobility, lack of energy, and emotional effects such as depression, anger, and anxiety.
Pain is a normal part of life – but when pain becomes chronic, it becomes a problem to explore with your doctor.