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Home » Know the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

Know the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain

Our Elite Team Can Help You Conquer Both

Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, the opportunities to get in shape and stay in shape outdoors seem endless. Hop on your bike and go for a spin. Lace up your sneakers and hit the ground running. Take a walk through the neighborhood or a hike in the woods. Grab a tennis racket, baseball bat, golf club, field hockey stick, basketball or soccer ball. Plus, it won’t be long now before you can exercise at the pool, lake or beach.

Unfortunately, when you engage in sports and other physical activities, you increase your chance of injury. So, it’s important to be in tune with the messages your body sends and seek treatment and pain management services in Bergen County and beyond when you need them. At Kayal Orthopaedic Center and Kayal Pain & Spine Center, we specialize in the treatment of the injuries and pain you might experience when you have an active lifestyle.

Acute Pain vs. Chronic Pain

In general, there are two types of sports injuries: acute and chronic.

Acute injuries happen suddenly and typically involve trauma. Examples include torn muscles, bruised tendons or broken bones. Sprains, strains and dislocations are also acute injuries.

Chronic injuries are caused by prolonged, repetitive movements such as those you use when you engage in running, cycling, swimming or other endurance sports. Chronic injuries also can be the result of long-term conditions that can flare up with exercise. Examples include shin splints, stress fractures, tennis elbow, runner’s knee, inflammation, arthritis and tendinitis. They usually occur when athletes try to do too much too soon, use improper techniques or overdo certain movements while playing.

When athletes suffer acute injuries, they tend to seek medical attention quickly because the injuries are sudden and the impact on function and mobility is immediate. But even though chronic injuries generally progress slowly, it’s important to know the signs and seek treatment before the problem becomes even more serious.

Symptoms Aren’t Always the Same

Visually dislocated or broken bones are obvious signs of an acute injury. Other signs include:

  • The pain is sudden and severe.
  • You experience swelling.
  • You can’t place weight on your injured limb.
  • You feel extreme tenderness in your injured limb.
  • You no longer have full range of motion in your injured joint or joints.
  • Your limb is extremely weak.

You may have a chronic injury if:

  • You experience pain when carrying out an activity.
  • You feel a dull ache when your body is at rest.
  • You notice swelling.

If you suffer from an acute injury, you should see your doctor if:

  • You have severe swelling and pain.
  • Your limbs are bent at strange angles.
  • You hear a crunching or popping sound when you move the injured area.
  • You can’t support weight with the injured area.
  • Your joint is unstable.
  • You have dizziness or fever.
  • You’re having trouble breathing.

Because the symptoms are subtle and occur over time, it can be more challenging to know when to seek treatment for chronic injuries. You should schedule an appointment if:

  • You’re experiencing severe pain.
  • Your injury is not improving over time.
  • You notice swelling, bruising or other discoloration.
  • Your injury is affecting your training or performance.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Whether you are experiencing acute or chronic pain, our expert team has the skills and experience to diagnose, treat and help you manage your pain. In addition to pain management, we specialize in a variety of surgical techniques, including hand and wrist surgery, for patients in Bergen County, NJ, and beyond. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about us, call 844.281.1783 or contact us on the web.