It is important to know the proper definitions of acute pain and chronic pain so that you and your physician can communicate effectively about your neck or back pain and how to go about achieving relief. In the medical community, physicians consider pain to be chronic if it occurs consistently for three months or longer. Acute pain is pain that lasts for less than three months and is caused by an injury that appears to be healing naturally.
Acute pain facts
Below are some important facts about acute pain:
- Acute pain generally disappears once the underlying cause of pain has healed.
- Acute pain, left untreated, can lead to chronic pain.
- Acute pain can be caused by injuries like broken bones, burns, cuts, sprains, and strains.
On the other hand, chronic pain is pain that persists despite treatment or healing. It can begin with a sudden injury, like a broken bone, but can continue to manifest after the bone has healed. Recurrent headaches, back pain and arthritic pain are all examples of chronic pain.
Diagnosing spine pain as acute or chronic
The most common cause of neck or back pain is a sprained ligament or a strained muscle. In most cases, these will heal over a period of several weeks with conservative treatments. On the other hand, some pain is caused by degenerative spine conditions that may take longer to heal, such as a herniated disc, bulging disc and spinal stenosis. Many physicians will prescribe a regimen of pain medication, hot-cold therapy, behavior modification and gentle exercise to treat these issues.
If three or more months of these pain relief methods prove ineffective, your pain will likely be classified as chronic, and your physician may suggest that you consider surgical alternatives. If this is the case, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can tell you more about the minimally invasive procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain.