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What is acute pain?

ANSWER

Acute pain starts suddenly and usually feels sharp. Broken bones, burns, or cuts are classic examples. So is pain after giving birth or surgery.

Acute pain may be mild and last just a moment. Or it may be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than 6 months, and it stops when its underlying cause has been treated or has healed.

If the problem that causes short-term pain isn’t treated, it may lead to long-term, or “chronic” pain.

SOURCES:

Nurse.com: "Pain Management Basics."

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: "Pain Management."

Healthinaging.org: "Pain Management: Basic Facts & Information."

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: “Patient Information: Spinal Cord Stimulation.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Chronic Pain,” “Spinal Manipulation.”

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet,” “Pain: Hope Through Research.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on October 15, 2017

SOURCES:

Nurse.com: "Pain Management Basics."

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: "Pain Management."

Healthinaging.org: "Pain Management: Basic Facts & Information."

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: “Patient Information: Spinal Cord Stimulation.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Chronic Pain,” “Spinal Manipulation.”

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet,” “Pain: Hope Through Research.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on October 15, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

What problems can chronic pain cause?

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