What is Chronic Pain?

Are you someone who deals with pain daily for and has for at least the last 3 months?

If so, let’s talk about the difference between acute and chronic pain.

Acute Pain

Acute pain is used to warns us of potential damage and usually comes on suddenly as a result of a specific incident (for example, surgery, fracture, trauma, childbirth, etc).

Think hot hand on the stove!

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain serves no biological purpose as it is not related to the threat of tissue damage and is considered a disease state and can persist for months to years.

Consider this: I stab you with a sharp knife— ouch, very sharp! I continue to stab you, but the knife dulls. You still feel the sharp stabbing knife. I stop but you still feel the stabs.

Central Sensitization

This is called sensitization. When the body receives a painful input for an extended period of time (aka- untreated acute pain) it becomes overly sensitive and begins to recognize non-painful stimuli as pain producing (for example, bra straps, purse, headrest in your car, etc).

Here’s an even more astounding point:

When your stress levels are high for extended periods of time, the body can perceive environmental events as pain and trigger things like headaches, back pain, foot pain, neck pain.


Hope exists

Find someone that understands pain. Figure out ways to manage and cope with stress. Limit exposure to things that cause increase pain and spend more time doing things that make you feel better. Everything you do from a treatment perspective needs to focus on calming your ‘fight or flight.’

About the author:

Dr. Sarah Cash Crawford, PT, DPT, COMT, CMTPT, is a physical therapist and certified myofascial trigger point therapist through Myopain Seminars ®, the only certifying body of Trigger Point Dry Needling in the US. Dr. Crawford trained under Jan Dommerholt, PT and founder of Myopain Seminars ®, who worked directly under Drs. Travell and Simmons in his pursuit to bring dry needling to the U.S. Dr. Crawford has been performing Trigger Point Dry Needling in the Cincinnati area for over six years and was the first CMTPT in the state of Ohio. She has been practicing physical therapy for eight years. With a background in neurologic rehabilitation, manual therapy, and a specialty in treating chronic pain, Dr. Crawford began studying dry needling to further expand her treatment options to help patients overcome the influence of myofascial restriction. Dr. Crawford is the founder of Anchor Wellness, Inc., an integrative health practice that specializes in physical therapy, pilates, and health coaching.