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Chronic vs Acute Pain

Acute pain comes on suddenly and is described as 'sharp'. This type of pain is an early warning signal for some form of threat to the body. Acute pain is usually easily diagnosed and disappears when properly treated. If left untreated, acute pain might lead to chronic pain.

Chronic pain persists for long periods of time even though the initial injury has healed. The nervous system continues to receive on going pain signals which can have dramatic consequences on overall health. It is also possible for chronic pain to exist without any evidence of previous injury. A serious form of chronic pain is called Fibromyalgia and another is Myofascial Pain Syndrome.


The cause of chronic pain can be more difficult to fully understand. In circumstances where no known cure exists for the disease causing the chronic pain, such as arthritis, effective pain management is essential for well being. Manual therapy and acupuncture are excellent 'tried & tested' techniques for treating musculoskeletal pain.

A general view on duration of pain types

  • Acute (less than 4 weeks)
  • Subacute (4 – 12 weeks)
  • Chronic (greater than 12 weeks)

Author Info:
- MSc, BSc Hons, DipMedAc, MISCP

by Simon.

Lorraine Carroll Physiotherapy 

Suite 2, 24-26 Gloucester Road, Buderim 4556, Queensland, Australia

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Lorraine Carroll
MPhty (Manips), BPhysio, CMA

Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

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ABN: 42657873973 

Provider Number: 6261532J