What is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

Have you ever felt that unpleasant sensation in any part of your body when you are going through an injury or illness? I know, the answer is yes. This unpleasant sensation which causes discomfort is commonly known as pain. We all go through the certain type of pain at any stage of life.

It can be a physical pain or an emotional one.  In medical terminology, pain is divided into two types (acute vs. chronic) on the basis of onset, intensity, and duration of pain.

Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

Acute pain is defined as pain which arises due to specific injury or disease with sudden onset and which lasts for a limited duration. Acute pain is more common than chronic pain.

The sympathetic nervous system gets activation and skeletal muscle spasm is associated with acute pain. Acute pain vanishes, after the aggravating factors (injury or illness) are removed, in very short time. One can call it a gift to himself as it tells that something is wrong with the body and it needs attention. Injuries through falling from a certain height, broken bone from any accident and burning of finger or any body part cause sudden pain which signals the body.


Diseases like common cold or flu attack a person suddenly for a short period of time and then vanish away. Some diseases associated with acute pain are cured without treatment. While some require treatment with medicinal care or hospitalization.

On the other side, when pain doesn’t go away even after removing the source from where it is originating or when pain is developed over a long period of time with an aggravated condition it is referred as chronic pain. This type of pain sneaks up on a person slowly and doesn’t come in the notice.

And after a long period of time, it shows its symptoms with persisting severe condition. This type of pain doesn’t require any special kind of stimulant or disease to occur. The Chronic pain stays for more than a month or it can take years to recover. Furthermore, it is more damaging than acute pain as it affects mental, functional and physical health of a person. It is diagnosed after the pain which lasts for at least three months. Diseases associated with chronic pain require long-term hospital care. Backache, osteoporosis, migraine and kidney diseases are some example of chronic pain.

Watch the Video to see the difference of Acute and Chronic Pain

Source Image iStockphoto

One Response

  1. January 24, 2017

Leave a Comment