Your doctor will ask about the duration of your pain.
- Acute pain is usually sudden or caused by a specific event such as surgery or injury. It lasts for hours or days and may cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and anxiety.
- Chronic pain may exist for months or years, often from diseases such as arthritis and cancer. Chronic pain rarely causes changes in heart rate or blood pressure but can cause loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, and depression. Many patients have trouble labeling chronic pain as "pain" at all. Instead, they use terms such as "discomfort," "ache," or "troubles." This is fine, as long as patient, family, and caregivers all understand one another. Many people with chronic pain don't look like they are in pain - it has gone on too long.
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