Both acute and chronic pain are an enormous problem in the United States, costing 650 million lost workdays and $65 billion a year.” – Grichnik and Ferrante. Mt Sinai J Med. 1991; 58: 217

The phrase, “a pain in the neck,” gets thrown around a lot, but actual pain, in the neck or elsewhere, should not be discussed so flippantly. There are two types of pain, acute and chronic. Acute pain and chronic pain are different, but both need more treatment options.

Spine-health defines acute pain as “a type of pain that typically lasts less than 3 to 6 months, or pain that is directly related to soft tissue damage such as a sprained ankle or a paper cut.” Other sources define this type of pain as having a known cause or lasting less than four weeks. What is agreed upon, however, is that acute pain is focused in one area and is of shorter duration than chronic pain. Although acute pain can vary in intensity, it is typically more severe than chronic pain. Some examples of acute pain causes are burns, cuts and incisions and broken bones. If this type of pain is not properly resolved, it can lead to chronic pain.

Chronic pain is constant or regular pain due to active pain signals in the nervous system. This type of pain can also vary in intensity. It is less focused and can have no known cause. Some conditions that do cause chronic pain are arthritis, fibromyalgia and cancer.

Patients often handle chronic pain with a combination of analgesic medication, therapy and changes in behavior. Those with acute pain often receive analgesic medications alone. Opioids, anesthetics and anti-inflammatory drugs are some of the most effective ones used to treat acute pain, which can also prevent chronic pain. However, many of these have problems. Opioids are addictive, and anti-inflammatory drugs often have low compliance due to a lack of palatability.

Although acute and chronic pain are different, both types of pain require more treatment options. Using the OptimµmTM platform, Orbis Biosciences has developed a taste-masked, dose-titratable analgesic. Our drug has improved palatability compared to other analgesic medications, which improves compliance. Our drug gives relief to those who suffer from pain and shows we take pain seriously. As companies like us continue to make proper pain relief a priority, “a pain in the neck” will become only a flippant expression.