Acute and Chronic. What is the Difference?

The words acute and chronic are terms that are often used when diagnosing and describing diseases, symptoms and conditions of the body. Patients visiting an osteopath often use these terms either interchangeably or incorrectly. Simply put, the term ‘acute’ is used to describe a disease or condition that has presented for a relatively short period of time, usually under three months. The term ‘chronic’, on the other hand, describes a condition that has been evident for a longer period of time, that is longer than three months.

Acute and Chronic Pain

Acute and chronic Doesn’t Relate to Pain Levels


The term ‘chronic’ may also refer to a condition that is often recurring or is something that worsens every reoccurrence. A condition regarded to as chronic is something that does not affect a person suddenly and is rather affecting the various systems and body parts gradually as it also develops very slowly. In order for a condition or illness to be considered as a chronic one, the disease should last for three months or longer. If an acute illness, such as bronchial asthma or diabetes is left untreated, this may develop into a chronic condition which may be fatal to the person affected. An acute illness that does not improve over time, will gradually be revised to chronic, once three months has passed.

Acute conditions and illnesses generally affect people suddenly. Examples include, a cut to the hand, catching a cold, or being victim to an accident which causes you an injury. However, these conditions may all lead to being chronic if they’re injuries linger for longer.

It is important to note that the terms ‘chronic’ and ‘acute’ do not indicate the severity of a person’s condition but rather the duration this certain condition affects that person. It is a myth to believe that chronic injuries are more painful than acute injuries, or vice versa. The severity of a chronic or acute illnesses depends on the condition and symptoms themselves
rather than the time period noted by being acute or chronic.

An osteopath is adept at treating both acute and chronic muscular skeletal conditions. But generally speaking, the longer that you have had a condition or pain, the longer it will take to treat and alleviate.

For more information contact Inlign Osteopath Melbourne