Acute pain starts suddenly. It’s the type of pain you feel when you are injured or have surgery. It can be treated with a short-term prescription for medication and usually lasts for a few weeks or months as healing takes place.
Chronic pain can last for months or years, well beyond the normal healing time for an illness or injury. It can be intermittent or persistent.
Intermittent Pain is episodic. It may occur in waves or patterns. Mild-to-moderate intermittent pain is often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), adjuvant medicines and non-drug therapies. Moderate-to-severe intermittent pain may be treated with short-acting opioids (strong pain medications).
Persistent pain is defined as lasting 12 or more hours every day for more than three months. It is usually treated with timed medication taken at specific times every day to provide pain relief all day long. Moderate-to-severe persistent pain may be treated with opioids.
- Breakthrough Pain comes on quickly or “breaks through” the medicine you are taking to relieve your persistent pain. It can occur many times during the day. This type of pain can be treated with specific medicines prescribed to delivery fast pain relief.
- Pain Flares are short-term increases in a person’s usual level of pain. This pain suddenly erupts or emerges with or without an aggravating event or activity.