Pain is the way your body can signal that something has happened or that something may be wrong. When that pain happens rapidly and then starts to go away once the source is removed, that is called acute pain. If the pain lasts longer than a period of six months and you still feel that pain, even when the initial injury has been treated, this is known as chronic pain.

Acute Pain

Acute pain appears suddenly by something specific, and the pain is sharp. Acute pain is a “good” pain – it tells you that you have been hurt and is a normal reaction to an event. You feel acute pain when you break an ankle, hit your thumb with a hammer or put your hand on a hot stove top.

It does not last longer than a period of six months and goes away when the underlying cause is removed. Causes of acute pain can include:

  • Injuries
  • Surgery
  • Fractures
  • Dental work
  • Burns and cuts
  • Labor and childbirth

Yes, the pain is very real and very strong when it happens, but it does subside. Generally, once acute pain recedes you are able to move on with your life and live pain free.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is something you typically live with for a long time, perhaps even your whole life. Chronic pain is ongoing and lasts longer than six months. It often continues well after the initial injury or illness has been resolved. That’s because pain signals remain active for weeks, months or years in the nervous system. Some people even have chronic pain even when no past injury, illness or bodily damage has occurred.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to Healthline.

Chronic pain is associated with the following conditions:

  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve pain
  • Back pain

Stress impacts the body in many ways, and many stressors can result in physical and emotional conditions such as:

  • Tense muscles
  • Limited movement
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Fear of re-injury, which could limit the ability to engage in leisure activities, physical exercise or return to work.

Many people cannot work due to chronic pain, or miss several days a year from work. Researchers say the total value of lost productivity because of chronic pain in employees is about $300 billion annually. The most common sources of chronic pain include back, hip, knee, and foot pain.

Fibromyalgia is another common source of pain, with symptoms including exhaustion, depression, restless leg syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, bladder problems, tingling and numbness, and sensitivity to lights, noise, or temperature.

Chronic pain differs from acute pain in that it doesn’t go away when the initial injury has healed. It can be present and affect your life for months, years or decades. But there are solutions, and they don’t all include invasive surgery.

Contact Summit Spine and Joint Centers

If you suffer from chronic pain that is interfering with your daily life, you may be a good candidate for one of our minimally invasive techniques. Call Summit Spine and Joint Centers today at 770-962-3642 to make an appointment about visiting one of our 21 centers including our newest location for Pain Management in Stockbridge, GA.