Acute pain and chronic pain are two very different things.
Acute pain is a normal trigger from your body that something happened, and you should pay attention. For example, if you fall and bang up your knee, your body will signal that your knee is injured, and the feeling of pain will likely spur you to rest and care for that leg. Over the course of a few days, the knee will heal, and the pain will go away.
If the pain continues to linger after the initial injury heals, it may be chronic pain. This is pain that is persistent and can be present in the absence of or long after an injury. Sometimes the cause of chronic pain is known, as in conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Other times chronic pain is present without a diagnosable cause.
Low back pain is one common example. Up to 10% of adults in the US experience ongoing, chronic pain in the low back area. (5) In many of these situations, there is no identifiable injury present. The low back just hurts.
This is chronic pain, and in addition to the unpleasant physical sensation, it can disrupt sleep, negatively impact mental health, and chip away at a person’s sense of well-being. (6)