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Acute VS Chronic Pain: What Are Their Differences?

Updated: Jan 22

Acute VS Chronic Pain: What Are Their Differences?

Although pain is uncomfortable and can reduce your quality of life, it is still commonly experienced by many people. In fact, according to studies, somewhere between 11 and 40 per cent of people suffer from some form of discomfort in their bodies. Whether it is neck pain from excessive computer use, recurrent tension-type headaches or sports injuries, it is essential to understand your pain and receive the right treatment for it.

In general, there are two main types of pain – acute and chronic pain. It will be incredibly worthwhile to learn to distinguish between the two, so you may better manage your pain.

What is acute pain?

A sudden, severe pain that lasts shorter than six months is categorised as acute pain. Your body receives a signal from acute pain that it is in danger and that its health or integrity has been jeopardised. Hence it is protective.

Typically, acute pain has a specific source. For instance, when you have a fall and break your leg, you will feel pain because of this injury. As time goes on and as the injury heals, the pain gradually goes away. Simply put, acute pain is temporary and short-lived, often subsiding once the affected area has healed.

Some common signs and symptoms of acute pain include a sharp pain or throbbing feeling in the affected area. Some people may even experience weakness, numbness, or a tingling sensation.

What is chronic pain?

On the other hand, an ongoing pain that lasts for longer than six months is known as chronic pain. Unlike acute pain, this type of pain may still persist after the injury that caused it has healed. It is also possible for people to suffer from chronic pain even when there is no apparent damage to the body. However, that is not to say that chronic pain does not have a cause.

The underlying issues that cause chronic pain vary from person to person. Some of the common types of chronic pain include headaches, nerve pain, neck pain, back pain, arthritis and more. Pain signals will remain in the body’s nervous system for an extended period of time, which is why chronic pain can persist for weeks, months or even years. In fact, the nervous system adapts to become more efficient at transmitting pain signals.

Chronic pain does not merely cause prolonged pain. For people suffering from chronic pain, this stress on the body can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including changes in appetite, sleep patterns, a lack of energy, limited range of movement and even psychological effects such as anxiety, depression and more. Other social impacts include difficulty in holding on to jobs and limited capacity and function at work.

Treatment options for acute and chronic pain

While acute pain seems to be far less serious as compared to chronic pain, it should not be ignored. There is a possibility that chronic pain may develop from acute pain if it is not properly addressed.

If you are suffering from any form of pain, we recommend seeking professional help immediately. A professional healthcare provider will be able to assess your specific pain condition and offer you the treatment that is best suited for you.

Here at Affinity Pain Clinic, we are a Singapore back pain specialist that has experience addressing various kinds of body pains. From headaches to tennis elbow treatment in Singapore and more, our seasoned physicians are committed to aiding you in your journey to recovery.

As a specialist for headaches in Singapore, we pride ourselves on offering up-to-date, evidence-based yet affordable therapy for every patient we attend to. We strive to help you achieve an improved quality of life with our exceptional pain treatments.

For more information, feel free to drop us a message at Alternatively, do not hesitate to give us a call at +65 6429 1335 or +65 8023 3065. We would be more than happy to discuss a customised pain relief solution for you.


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