The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

Pain can affect a person’s mobility and consequently their quality of life. Many people living with pain stop partaking in their favorite activities to avoid their pain triggers.

Pain can be broadly classified into two major categories: acute and chronic. Both acute and chronic pain can worsen pre-existing medical conditions. Acute pain is easier to diagnose than chronic pain as chronic pain can be caused by an ‘invisible’ underlying issue.

Acute Pain

Acute pain is characterized by a sudden, sharp pain that lasts less than six months. It begins suddenly and serves as a warning sign of an illness or any other threat the body is facing.

Some common causes of acute pain include broken bones, burns, cuts, surgery, and labor or childbirth. Acute pain usually subsides once its underlying cause has been addressed.

Acute pain can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can come and go without warning. A pain episode can last a few days, hours, minutes or even just a few seconds.

Doctors use the Wong-Baker FACES pain rating scale to determine the intensity of acute pain. Your doctor may also order blood tests and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans in order to identify the root cause of your pain.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain lasts at least three months. Chronic pain can come or go or may be there all the time. In many cases, chronic pain is considered a disease in its own right. Chronic pain can last years.

Chronic pain affects more than 20% of U.S. adults. It can be caused by poor posture, improper lifting, a congenital condition, traumatic injury, or an underlying health problem. Some common types of chronic pain include headaches, neck pain, back pain, arthritis, cancer pain, nerve pain, and fibromyalgia.

How can Acupuncture Help?

Many people with acute and chronic pain turn to acupuncture to manage their condition. Unlike oral medications, creams, ointments, and steroid injections, acupuncture does not have any side effects and is completely drug-free.

The main objective of acupuncture is to restore the body’s self-healing mechanism. Several studies have recognized it as an effective treatment for different types of pains.

Acupuncture for pain in San Francisco works by stimulating the brain to produce natural pain-killing chemicals known as endorphins. Acupuncture also affects the part of the brain that regulates the production of serotonin, a chemical that acts as a mood stabilizer.

In addition to treating pain, acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of various health conditions including anxiety, depression, infertility, sciatica, and arthritis.

Many people shudder at the thought of needles being inserted into their skin. Contrary to what you might think, acupuncture needles do not cause pain as they are paper-thing.

At Anchor Acupuncture & Wellness, we use different acupuncture techniques to treat chronic pain. Our experience creating customized treatment plans to help address the specific care needs of our patients in San Francisco sets us apart. To make an appointment, call (415) 855-3112.

Amanda Moler is a licensed acupuncturist and certified fertility acupuncturist (FABORM), serving San Francisco, CA.  Her educational background includes receiving a bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from Antioch College in 2001 and in 2010, her master’s degree from American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2008, she also attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, IL for education on acupuncture and oriental medicine. Asa Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, she has gained recognition for treating complex women fertility cases, providing guidance on painful side-effects of drugs, hormones, and maintaining the overall well-being of women. Follow Anchor Acupuncture and Amanda Moler on Facebook , Instagram, LinkedIn.