Acute vs. Chronic Pain

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

Before we start discussing how to alleviate chronic pain, let’s get a clearer understanding of the different types of pain.

3 Types of Pain:

  • Acute Pain < 3-6 months
    • obvious tissue damage
    • intensity will likely go away
    • you can see or know problem area
    • hurt = harm
    • pain is a reliable signal that you have tissue damage
  • Chronic Pain > 6 months
    • all healing has occurred (but maybe not nerves)
    • pain may be in excess of physical findings
    • pain intensity may never completely go away
    • no visible injury
    • hurt does NOT = harm
    • pain is NOT a reliable signal
    • warning signal is broken
  • Terminal Pain

Cycles of Chronic Pain:


The program at the PPRC is designed to help patients learn how to unwind the cycles of pain.

“Understanding Pain in Less than 5 Minutes” – (5 min)

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