The World of Chronic Pain
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The World of
Chronic Pain

More than 125 million Amercians are suffering.

Diseases &
Conditions

These conditions can cause a world of pain.

Medications
& Treatment

Be sure you know the cautions and side effects.

Help &
Support

Finding help is not always simple for those in pain.

Safety &
Prevention

These tips can help prevent a lifetime of pain.

News &
Issues

Up-to-date news on pain-related issues.

Acute Versus Chronic Pain

The Two Faces of Pain: Acute and Chronic

What is pain? The International Association for the Study of Pain defines it as: An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.

It is useful to distinguish between two basic types of pain, acute and chronic, and they differ greatly.

Acute pain, for the most part, results from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. This type of pain generally comes on suddenly, for example, after trauma or surgery, and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain is self-limiting, that is, it is confined to a given period of time and severity. In some rare instances, it can become chronic.

Chronic pain is widely believed to represent 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 canóand often doesócause severe problems for patients.