acute pain & chronic pain

Acute pain is the sudden onset of pain usually the result of a specific cause, like an injury such as wound or cut.  Acute pain will resolve itself when the underlying cause is healed.

Acute pain can last between 3 to 6 months and is normally the result of an injury, these can include:

  • Cuts

  • Wounds

  • Broken/fractured bones

  • muscle sprains and tears

  • Injuries such as knee or back injury

  • Sport related injuries

The list is not exhaustive as our bodies are complex and can be injured or damaged in many different ways.

Acute pain meaning

A chronic condition is a human health condition that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects.  The term chronic is often applied when the symptoms lasts for more than three months.

In medicine, a chronic condition can be distinguished from one that is acute as an acute condition typically affects one portion of the body and responds to treatment.


A chronic condition on the other hand usually affects multiple areas of the body, is not fully responsive to treatment, and persists for an extended period of time.  Chronic conditions may have periods of remission or relapse where the symptoms temporarily go away, or subsequently reappears. 

Examples of chronic conditions include:

  • Asthma

  • Arthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)

The list is not exhaustive as there are many conditions and diseases that fall into the chronic condition category.

chronic pain meaning