Acute/Chronic Pain

What is acute and chronic pain?

The definitions acute and chronic are rather arbitrary.  It often said that chronic pain persists when, based on the natural course of the disease, no pain should be expected any more.

The problem is that the aetiology of many pain syndromes is not known, let alone the natural course. Internationally, it has been agreed that the limit on the duration of pain is about three months. After that time, we call the pain chronic.

This rule is not always true because, for example, in neuropathic pain there is no tissue damage but rather a malfunctioning nerve that causes prolonged pain which always exceeds the limit of three months.

Nevertheless, it is useful to divide pain into acute and chronic. If chronic pain persists for a very long time, it may have all kinds of unpleasant consequences, such as anxiety and depression, which in turn may make the pain worse.