Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The transition from acute to persistent pain is thought to arise from maladaptive neuroplastic mechanisms involving three intertwined processes, peripheral sensitization, central sensitization, and descending modulation. Strategies aimed at preventing persistent pain may target such processes. Models for studying preventive strategies include persistent post-surgical pain (PPP), persistent post-trauma pain (PTP) and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Such entities allow a more defined acute onset of tissue injury after which study of the long-term effects is more easily examined. In this review, we examine the pathophysiology, epidemiology, risk factors, and treatment strategies for the prevention of chronic pain using these models. Both pharmacological and interventional approaches are described, as well as a discussion of preventive strategies on the horizon.