Pain brought on by injury, that goes away when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed, and that disappears in a reasonable amount of time is considered acute. Most acute pain comes on quickly and is often described as sharp. Acute pain may be mild and brief, or severe and last up to several months.
When acute pain doesn’t go away after the injury or cause of pain has healed, it is considered chronic pain. Typically, chronic pain lasts more than six months. Chronic pain is now considered a disease that may best be managed with a complementary, team-based approach. Relaxation technique and water therapy, for example, may be used along with medication, nerve blocks or surgery to control pain.
Acute pain and discomfort from surgery or cancer treatments is typically reported by people with cancer, but pain is subjective and not all people with cancer report significant pain. Breakthrough cancer pain, a flare-up of pain that occurs even if medication is being used to treat pain, comes on suddenly, and may last for a few seconds or a few hours. There are effective treatments for breakthrough pain..