We all experience pain to greater or lesser degrees at various points of our lives. Pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical attention.
There are two basic types of pain, acute and chronic.
Acute pain often results from well defined disease, inflammation, or injuries. Acute pain is a vital, protective mechanism that permits us to live in an environment fraught with potential dangers. This type of pain generally comes on 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 confined to a limited period of time and severity. However, some can become chronic.
Chronic pain is usually defined as pain which lasts beyond the ordinary duration of time that an insult or injury to the body needs to heal. This is commonly thought of as four to six weeks. Pain that outlasts this period may be a harbinger of a serious condition. Chronic pain may be related to a number of different medical conditions including (but not limited to) herniated disks in the back or neck, muscle spasms, arthritis, compressed nerves, diabetes, fibromyalgia, shingles, migraine, cancer, and previous trauma or injury.