Chronic Pain vs Acute Pain

Have you ever heard the terms “chronic pain” and “acute pain”, and wondered what that actually means and why it’s important? Well I’m here to give you the answers!

Chronic pain is when you are in any type of pain, whether that be muscular, nerve, joint, or any other types, for a period of time greater than three months. It can start slow in its onset and build to a point where it can be quite debilitating, limiting people’s ability to do day to day tasks, or people often try to ignore or “get used to it”. Common sites of chronic pain can be the neck, shoulders, upper back, mid back, lower back and/or glute pain, but it can be experienced anywhere. In my line of work, it is often related to the muskelo-skeletal system or nervous system, with problems such as long term poor posture, old injuries, untreated whiplash, nerve impingement, fibromyalgia, arthritis, frozen shoulder and bursitis, but the term chronic pain can be used to describe illnesses or medical problems such as endometriosis, cancer, MS and many more.

Acute pain is when the pain comes on suddenly and caused by something specific. This could be from rolling your ankle, breaking a bone, straining a muscle, or dislocating a joint. Basically, from an injury. The pain could be characterised as sharp or intense. There is usually an element of inflammation and tissue damage. This pain can last for days to a couple of months. Once the tissue damage and inflammation is better, the pain goes away.

Why does this matter? Determining if your pain is chronic or acute, can determine how we treat it and how you rehab from it at home. People with chronic pain can often benefit from heat packs, remedial massage therapy, increasing their movement and treating underlying problems such as poor posture, movement dysfunction, desk set up, range of motion and compensation patterns. If you have an acute injury, it may be better to use ice packs instead, not participate in manual therapy for at least the first few days after injury, and rest more. Once the inflammation is settled, remedial massage therapy and/or physio is a good idea to treat the surrounding muscles that have responded to the trauma, improve your range of motion, treat any muscular imbalances, strengthen the muscles and ensure there are no compensation patterns forming.

I hope this answered any questions you might have had. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at or you can book an appointment online.Deep tissue massage

Comments 1

  1. This well-crafted article expertly navigates the intricate differences between chronic and acute pain, providing readers with valuable insights that empower them to better understand and manage these distinct experiences, making it an essential read for anyone on the journey to reclaiming a pain-free life.

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