The International Association for the Study of Pain recently revised its definition of pain in an effort to encourage new ways for doctors to assess pain. Pain is different for every individual, and your doctor will ask you questions about your pain to help determine what treatment options are best for you.
What’s The Difference Between Acute And Chronic Pain?2
Acute pain is sharp and is generally caused by something specific, like surgery, an injury, or dental work. Acute pain doesn’t last longer than six months, and it goes away when the underlying cause of the pain is resolved. Once the acute pain is gone, a person can go back to life as usual.
Chronic pain usually lasts longer than six months and may not be caused by injury or damage to tissue. Some examples are headache, arthritis, back pain, and nerve pain. Some people do experience pain months or years after an injury or surgery heals. This is also considered chronic pain.
People who have chronic pain may suffer emotional effects that can interfere with their lives, like depression, anxiety, or anger.
How Prevalent Is Pain In The US?
Nearly 86% of patients having surgery report postoperative pain, which is often moderate to severe in intensity.3 Poorly controlled pain can result in delayed discharge from the hospital, a delay in functional recovery, and an increased risk of chronic pain.4
50 million adults in the United States have chronic daily pain, with 19.6 million adults experiencing high-impact chronic pain that interferes with daily life or work activities. The cost of pain to our nation is estimated at between $560 billion and $635 billion annually.5
How is Pain Treated?
A May, 2019 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report on pain management best practices emphasized the need for an “individualized, patient-centered” approach for the treatment of pain.6
This approach to pain management emphasizes shared decision-making between individual patients and their doctors to make safer, effective pain management decisions. Ultimately, it’s between you and your doctor to decide what is right for you.
- International Association for the Study of Pain. “IASP Announces Revised Definition of Pain.” July 16, 2020. https://www.iasp-pain.org/PublicationsNews/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=10475
- Cleveland Clinic. Acute vs. Chronic Pain. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/12051-acute-vs-chronic-pain
- Gan TJ, Habib AS, Miller TE, White W, Apfelbaum JL. Incidence, patient satisfaction, and perceptions of post-surgical pain: results from a US national survey. Curr Med Res Opin. 2014;30:149–160. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2013.860019.
- Kehlet H, Jensen TS, Woolf CJ. Persistent postsurgical pain: risk factors and prevention. Lancet. 2006;367:1618–1625. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68700-X.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain among adults – United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1001-6.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2019, May). Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations. Retrieved from U. S. Department of Health and Human Services website: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/advisory-committees/pain/reports/index.html