Treating acute pain in light of the chronification of pain

Pain Manag Nurs. 2014 Mar;15(1):380-90. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Aug 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Pain / physiopathology
  • Acute Pain / therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Sensitization / physiology*
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology
  • Chronic Pain / prevention & control*
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods*