People usually experience acute pain directly following injury or damage to the body. If the pain continues past the normal healing period (around 6 months), it may be labeled as chronic pain.
Chronic pain often has no known origin or behaves independently from the initial injury. It does not function like acute pain, which can protect the body or help prevent further injury. Instead, chronic pain often negatively interferes with meaningful rehabilitation, mood and quality of life. Chronic pain then becomes more like a disease instead of a symptom.
The difference between types of pain is not always clear. Chronic pain responds best when treated using a multidisciplinary approach. Depending on the condition, a pain management specialist may initiate multiple treatments including rehabilitation and physical therapy, pain psychology to teach pain coping and distraction techniques, non-opioid medication therapy, and interventional pain relieving procedures.