Acute and Chronic Pain
General or Other | - Others | Acute and Chronic Pain (Disease)
Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. This pain can represent a warning of disease or a threat to the body. However, unrelieved acute pain, may lead to chronic pain.
Chronic pain is pain that has lasted for a long time and it can represent a disease itself. It can be made much worse by environmental and psychological factors. Chronic pain persists over a longer period of time than acute pain and is resistant to most medical treatments. It can cause severe problems for patients. Chronic pain may be divided into nociceptive and neuropathic.
Most chronic pain patients complain of cognitive impairment, such as forgetfulness, difficulty with attention, and difficulty completing tasks. Some cases of chronic pain can be traced to a specific injury that has long since healed -- for example, an injury, a serious infection, or even a surgical incision.
Other cases have no apparent cause -- no prior injury and an absence of underlying tissue damage. However, many cases of chronic pain are related to these conditions: low back pain, arthritis, especially osteoarthritis; headache; multiple sclerosis; fibromyalgia; shingles; nerve damage.
Medically treating your underlying condition is, of course, vitally important.
Causes and Risk factors
Acute pain may be caused by many events or conditions, such as: surgery, broken bones, dental work, burns or cuts, labor and childbirth. Acute pain may be mild and last just a moment, or it may be severe and last for weeks or months, but it does not last longer than six months. Acute pain disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Depending upon its severity, pain may be treated in a number of ways. Symptomatic options for the treatment of pain may include one or more of the following: drug treatments, nerve blocks (the blocking of a group of nerves with local anesthetics), electrical stimulation, physical therapy, surgery, psychological counseling etc.
Some pain medications are more effective in fighting pain when they are combined with other methods of treatment.