What is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain?

stress_chronic_painThere are many differences between acute and chronic pain. If you’re experiencing pain, how are you able to tell whether the pain will be chronic and persistent or if it will clear up with time?

It’s important to understand the difference between acute pain and chronic pain so you know the right treatment to seek.

Pain Doctors across the country are available to consult with you and determine the best course of action to solve your pain problem. Here are some differences between acute and chronic pain to keep in mind.


Acute pain is your body’s method of telling you when an injury has occurred. It is your brain’s way of saying not to touch a hot stove or hit your hand with a hammer again. It is typically a sensation that arrives suddenly and lessens after a relatively short period of time. Often this type of pain is described with words such as stabbing, burning, sharp or dull. Acute pain is the result of an injury or illness and can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication and will clear up within approximately three weeks

Chronic pain word cloudIf your pain has lasted more than three weeks and is affecting more than your physical health, it may be a chronic condition. Chronic pain can cause severe depression as well as the physical symptoms and can cause sufferers to worry more and be anxious about their circumstance than those experiencing short term acute pain. Chronic pain has gone beyond the initial injury or illness and becomes the illness itself. Once the pain has transcended just the physical experience and is causing a decline in quality of life it may be time to consider seeking treatment from a pain specialist who can determine the cause of the pain, the solution to the problem and even emotional support.

Consider the following indicators of pain:

  • Has it lasted longer than three weeks?
  • Is it concentrated in one area or radiating?
  • Is it a reoccurring pain that fades and returns regularly?
  • Is the pain making it difficult to perform daily tasks?
  • Is the pain causing you to become depressed?

chronic pain bill of rightsIt is important to understand the differences between acute and chronic pain so you know when to seek medical attention. Keep in mind that many of the time frames used to describe when pain can be classified as acute and chronic are arbitrary so talking to a pain specialist is advised.

Wherever you are throughout the United States, pain specialists are available to talk with you about your experience and determine the