Short Term vs Long Term Pain

Short Term vs Long Term Pain

Short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) pain is unwanted, uncomfortable, and unpleasant. Pain can also change from mild to severe, restricting activities and reducing your quality of life. While short-term pain has a specific traceable and treatable cause, long-term pain is generally rooted in underlying health conditions.

What is Short Term Pain?

Temporary pain lasts less than six months and is usually a warning that the body has some sort of issue. While you may think the pain is mild and temporary, that acute pain could actually be complex and possibly graduate to chronic pain, depending on any underlying conditions and the treatment you engage in.

With short-term pain, it can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms flare unpredictably and a lot of the time only lasts from a few seconds to a couple of days. This is why it’s important to see a professional so they can use imaging, nerve studies, blood tests, pain rating scales, and therapy to understand the cause and your pain levels and administer the appropriate treatment.

Types of Short-Term Pain

Acute pain is mainly alleviated by treating specific triggers such as cuts, burns, or a broken bone. Below are examples of short-term pain that can be severe if not addressed timely.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common problem resulting from poor posture, frequent bending on one side, and sitting for long. Primarily, people experiencing neck pain and whiplash may respond better to neck adjustment and manipulation.


Stress and posture can also lead to tension headaches characterized by a shooting pain in the back of your neck and head. Remedies for short-term headaches includes stretching exercises and stress reduction techniques guided by a health professional. If headache triggers are not addressed, they may lead to intense and long-term debilitating effects.

Muscular Pain

Muscle pain types (myalgia) are the random, steady, and deep aches experienced in any muscle due to infections, over exertion, injuries, or diseases. In most cases, healthcare providers order tests to determine the pain cause and severity.

What is Long Term Pain?

This type of pain is considered a chronic condition that lasts more than six months. Most types of long-term pain are rooted in underlying issues and patients undergo various treatments plans. These treatments focus on managing the condition in order to improve quality of life and prevent additional comorbidity in the long run.

Types of Long-Term Pain


Disc fracture, muscle strain, and inflammation are the common causes of long-term back pain. Other possible causes include degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or spinal lesions. People suffering from long-term low back pain may seek chiropractic services that involve spinal manipulation and progressive muscle relaxation.

Nerval Compression Pain

This condition occurs when the nerves experience significant pressure either from bad posture or other conditions such as gout, arthritis, spinal tumors, bone spurs, and herniated discs. For instance, the sciatica nerve compression triggers pain from the gluteal region radiating down one or both legs to the foot, ankle, or calf. While most nerve compression treatment plans depend on the pain trigger, common remedies include spinal manipulation and muscle stimulation to relieve the compression and eventually alleviate pain.

A lot of people suffering from chronic pain are also suffering from other comorbidities. Therefore, the treatment plan may have to involve a team of healthcare providers to ensure that all conditions are well-managed. Chiefly, the chosen health professional should base pain management on each patient's need and utilize the latest procedures and technology.

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