Chronic Pain vs. Acute Pain in Orthopedic Conditions

When something isn’t right with our bodies, we often feel pain telling us that something is wrong. The reason for the pain can sometimes be obvious, such as breaking a bone or a muscle strain. Other times, however, we might feel pain that doesn’t have an obvious source or that we aren’t sure where it came from, but has been there for months on end. Knowing the difference between these two types of pain can help you understand your treatment options. 

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is generally thought of as pain that exists for three months or more, that does not resolve in response to treatment. It most often affects the musculoskeletal system, such as bones or joints, and can cause pain and discomfort that can affect daily activity. Chronic pain is usually either age-related, genetic or due to overuse and is generally progressive in nature, starting slowly and continually getting worse over time. 

Common Chronic Orthopedic Conditions Can Include:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bursitis
  • Nerve Damage
  • Past Injuries
  • Chronic Low Back Pain
  • Chronic Joint Pain, etc.

Acute Pain 

Acute pain is typically the most common type of pain that is usually associated with most general injuries or illnesses. This type of pain is most often linked to some type of trauma to the affected area, whether that be a car accident or a simple muscle strain. Signs of an acute injury can include sudden & severe pain, swelling, inability to place weight on lower limbs or extreme tenderness to upper extremities, a visible dislocation or break of a bone, or the inability to move a joint through a full range of motion. Acute injuries typically respond well to treatment and the pain will generally decrease as the injured area heals. 

Common Acute Orthopedic Conditions Can Include:

  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Hernias
  • Impingements
  • Sprains
  • Muscle Strains, etc.

By knowing the difference between chronic and acute pain, this can help you better understand your treatment options for your orthopedic issues. If you are concerned about any pain you are feeling, seek medical care immediately. 

To schedule an appointment at Front Range Orthopedics, call (303)772-1600 or fill out a new patient appointment request form online today!

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