The definition of chronic pain is that it is ongoing and does not diminish over time. Read: What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is ongoing, and in the case of degenerative diseases, can become worse over time.
In the case of chronic pain, the purpose of the pain is not to warn you as in the case of acute pain. Your body is not trying to alert you to any danger, or to modify your behaviour in some way. The pain sensations continue as a result of disrepair in a section of the body, such as in an inflamed wrist of someone with rheumatoid arthritis.
Your body constantly alerts your brain to the problem – and this could continue for years in the case of certain conditions and diseases, such cancer or arthritis.
Chronic pain, like acute pain, can come in various forms.
Chronic pain can be mild, moderate or severe, and can, as described above in the case of acute pain, manifest in a variety of ways: from shooting and burning pains, to stabbing pains, a constant ache, a dull ache, pins and needles.
Read: Chronic pain runs in the family
The severity of the pain can vary depending on many factors, but there is not a set or predictable pattern to it as in the case of acute pain, which diminishes and then goes away.
This type of pain can also manifest as discomfort, soreness, tightness or stiffness.
Because of its lasting nature, it can lead to other conditions, such as depression and anxiety, insomnia, a withdrawal from activities, and disability, which could translate in an inability to perform daily activities or perform at work.
There are several conditions that are renowned for causing chronic pain. These are arthritis (both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) fibromyalgia, shingles, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis to name but a few.
diagnosing acute pain
(References: localhealth.com; patients.about.com; webmd.com; Health24.com;)