Pain is now the most common reason why patients seek medical care. Data compiled by the CDC shows that in 2007, analgesics, as a group, was the number one prescribed category of medications in the US, approximately 13% of all prescriptions. The number is most likely higher now.
Pain can be either acute or chronic. Acute pain is the one you get with injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, moving furniture, or playing sports. Chronic pain is sometimes harder to define. Some authorities define chronic pain as pain that persists, despite attempts to cure it, for six months. Others call the pain chronic after 3 months. It appears that the best definition for chronic pain is pain that persists for a period longer than is medically expected for it to resolve.