The progression of acute to chronic pain, also known as pain chronification, remains incompletely understood. Biologic factors involved in this transition include central sensitization, neuroplastic changes, altered pain modulation, and changes to the "neuromatrix." Chronic pain may involve irreversible pathophysiologic changes, so interrupting the cascade of events that allows acute pain to advance to chronic pain is of crucial importance. This involves recognition and prompt treatment of acute pain, better awareness and application of evidence-based guidelines on pain management by all clinicians (not just pain specialists), and patient education. By interrupting nociceptive input in acute pain conditions, it might be possible to prevent transition to chronic pain syndromes.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Pain Management Nursing. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.