NURS 6521N Pathophysiology of Acute Chronic and Referred Pain

NURS 6521N Pathophysiology of Acute Chronic and Referred Pain

NURS 6521N Pathophysiology of Acute Chronic and Referred Pain

Post a description of the pathophysiology of acute, chronic, and referred pain, including similarities and differences between them. Then, explain how the factors you selected might impact the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prescription of treatment for acute, chronic, and referred pain.

The International Association for the Study of Pain and the American Pain Society defined pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential damage or described in terms of such damage” (IASP, 1994). Acute pain is a protective mechanism that provides a warning that a condition or injury is actively harming the body. It motivates the affected individual to take immediate action in controlling or eradicating the pain.

Acute pain is usually short term lasting less than 3 months. Acute pain is usually tolerable but if left untreated can lead to chronic pain. In contrast to acute pain, chronic pain has lost its ability to warn and protect. It lasts for more than 3 to 6 months. Chronic pain no longer correlates with a causative agent. Chronic pain takes on its own identity and requires special treatment. Referred pain is a type of pain that can be classified as acute or chronic. It is described as being a pain that is distant from the actual point of injury.

NURS 6521N Pathophysiology of Acute Chronic and Referred Pain


Nociceptors are free nerve endings that are located all over the body. The main purpose of these receptors are to respond to damage to the body by transmitting signals to the spinal cord and brain. These transmitted signals are complex in that they carry information about the location and intensity of the painful stimuli. This will allow the brain to fully process the pain, and eventually send communication back to block further pain signals.

Nociceptors are classified by which stimuli they respond to and how fast they transmit pain signals. There are two main types of nerve fibers, A fiber axons and C fiber axons. Due to the difference in transmission speed between A and C fibers, the A fibers reach the spinal cord before the C fibers, as a result of an acute injury, pain is experienced in two phases. When a injury is suffered, Nociceptors activate the A fibers, causing a person to feel a sensation of sharp pain. This pain is not as intense as the pain that comes to follow. The second phase of pain is a result of C fibers being activated. The second phase of pain causes the individual to feel a sensation of an intense, burning pain that persists even after the stimulus has stopped.

Acute pain serves as a protective mechanism to indicate damage to the body. Chronic pain serves no purpose and causes long term suffering to the individual. Chronic pain is thought to be a change in the peripheral and central nervous systems that cause dysregulation of nociception and pain modulation processes. Physiological responses are similar in both acute and chronic pain. Chronic, persistent pain allows for an individual to adapt physiologically and produce a normal blood pressure and heart rate.

Incomplete assignment.


International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). IASP pain terminology. [Available at];Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentIK=1728#Pain [Accessed September 2018].

Kindly navigate to ORDER NOW for a complete and more resourceful answer.