Chronic vs. Acute Pain: 4 Ways to Tell the Difference

4 Ways to Distinguish between Acute & Chronic Pain in Older Adults

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Pain is always concerning for aging adults, but understanding whether the pain is chronic or acute can make a big difference in getting relief through proper treatment, as the two are managed differently. Here are four ways to determine which type of pain your senior loved one may be experiencing. 


1. Duration

Pain is considered chronic if it persists beyond six months, but acute pain usually lasts less than thirty days. Pain that lasts more than thirty days but has not yet reached six months is called subacute pain. 


2. Onset

Acute pain tends to start suddenly and may be mild or severe. Chronic pain usually begins more mildly and progresses over time. However, if acute pain remains untreated, it can become chronic over time. 

Aging adults can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Columbia families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.


3. Cause

Acute pain is typically caused by an injury, such as getting burned or breaking a bone. Chronic pain remains long after the original injury has healed. Cancer pain is frequently chronic, as is pain caused by damage to the nerves. Chronic pain may also be caused by conditions associated with normal aging. 

By making positive lifestyle choices, especially eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly, many older adults can prevent or delay age-related conditions that cause pain and discomfort. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.


4. Other Symptoms

Chronic pain is more likely to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, or a weakened immune system, while acute pain doesn’t usually have additional symptoms due to its shorter duration. 

Severe pain can make it difficult for aging adults to handle the basic activities of daily living on their own. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Columbia live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care to enhance his or her quality of life. Rely on the professionals at Assisting Hands Home Care to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.