- Acute pain usually comes on suddenly, because of a disease, injury, or inflammation. It can often be diagnosed and treated. It usually goes away, though sometimes it can turn into chronic pain.
- Chronic pain lasts for a long time, and can cause severe problems.
Chronic pain is not long lasting acute pain and has two characteristics that differ from acute pain. First, chronic pain lasts longer than six months. Second, chronic pain can be pain that occurs in addition to the pain of the original health condition. Whether or not the original injury or illness has healed, chronic pain is pain that has become independent of what started it all.
Lost productivity due to pain cost the US $299-$325 billion, based on factors including days of work missed, hours of work lost and lower wages
When people think of chronic pain as simply the long-lasting pain of an injury or illness that hasn’t yet healed it leads to getting a lot of healthcare. Narcotic pain medications, surgeries and injections are common attempts to reduce pain by focusing on the underlying condition that started the pain. Once pain has become chronic, attempts to fix the underlying condition that started it tend to fail to reduce pain. Chronic pain is pain that has taken on a life of its own and is pain that is occurring over and above the pain of the underlying condition that started it all.
Who is Affected by Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain manifests itself in different ways and can vary from person to person but over half of adults in the United States have experienced chronic or recurrent pain in the past year. However the most likely people to report pain lasting more than 24 hours are adults aged 45-64 years, while adults 65 and over were the least likely.
Chronic pain is the number one cause of long-term disability in the US.
Pain is not always curable, but there are many ways to treat it. Treatment depends on the cause and type of pain. There are drug treatments, including pain relievers. There are also non-drug treatments, such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.