Many individuals, both the young and the old mostly seek for health care services due to pain. The pain results in sensory and emotional responses which may lead to actual or potential damages to the tissues and organs. Pain can be categorized as either acute or chronic depending on the duration it occurs. Acute pain is frequently identified by its sudden onset over a short period of time and decreases in intensity over a period of days to weeks while chronic pain is identified as long term lasting for months or longer which is persistent and at times constant that produces notable changes in the patient’s life. We can feel acute and chronic pain. Both acute and chronic pain differs in terms of the causes among the young and the elderly.
Among the major causes of acute pain among the young men involves acute abdomen. Acute conditions are produced by inflammatory, obstructive or vascular processes. Acute abdominal pain requires urgent treatment and in most cases, emergency operation is indicated. Some of the causes of the acute abdomen include acute appendicitis, bowel obstruction, perforated duodenal ulcers and peritonitis. With the symptom of pain as a result of an underlying condition, the young men tend to seek for medical attention earlier after the onset of the symptom than the elderly. However, among the elderly, they have diminished sensorium and therefore tend to seek for medical attention later. The elderly present with acute pain as a result of gastroenteritis, acute pancreatitis, choleystitis or intestinal obstruction. Among the young patients, the major cause of chronic pain includes terminal illnesses such as cancer while for the elderly it results from degenerative conditions such as arthritis as well as cancer, multiple sclerosis.
Therefore, health care providers should take detailed history; thorough physical examinations to enable them make the correct diagnoses of pain since many conditions present with this symptom. In addition, through proper identification of the type of pain, enable health care providers provide the most appropriate management.