Acute pain vs. chronic pain
The onset of acute pain is sudden, caused by an injury like a burn or cut, a dental problem, a broken bone, or surgery. When the affected area heals, the pain usually subsides within a six-month timeframe, according to Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center. But chronic pain can continue to plague sufferers; lasting for months or even years after the affected area has healed. This occurs because the body continues to signal pain to the nervous system. The pain is real, and the effect stresses the body–and the patient. Chronic pain can immobilize patients, holding their life hostage by keeping them from their work, their daily activities, and even their social life.
"We see that for many patients chronic pain becomes a disease in its own right," according to Phillip Pizzo, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine. "We need to address this in a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary way and include prevention as a very important goal."