Episode1 Segment 2 - What is acute pain and chronic pain?

Fast Fact 1

Acute pain is an
alarm system

Fast Fact 2

Chronic pain lasts
for more than
3 months

What is acute pain?

  • Acute pain is usually a result of an injury or illness causing some form of tissue damage or swelling.
  • Acute pain is a really useful alarm system.
  • The role of acute pain is to stop us doing things that cause, or might cause, damage to our bodies.
  • Acute pain lets us know that something is going wrong with a part of our body
  • Acute pain normally fades as the injury or damage heals and lasts for a few moments days or weeks

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is pain that has been present for more than 3 months.

  • It may be due to an ongoing condition or disease eg arthritis or Lupus
  • It can result from nerve damage
  • It can be an over-sensitive nervous system

Chronic pain might be constant; or the pain may vary or occur again and again. Some specific treatments may help to reduce some of the main triggers. If you have a known chronic disease that causes pain, it is very important to have regular monitoring by your healthcare provider. This may reduce your pain.

User Activity

This activity is designed to help you identify acute and chronic pain.


Listed in the table below are some conditions. Decide if each condition is an example of acute or chronic pain, and tick the word 'Acute' or 'Chronic'.

1. Frequent migraines or daily headaches

Acute Chronic

2. Appendicitis

Acute Chronic

3. Sun burn

Acute Chronic

4. Back pain that has lasted for more than 5 months

Acute Chronic

5. Bee sting

Acute Chronic