Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins
Chronic pain is a major medical problem, affecting as many as 100 million Americans, robbing them of a full sense of well-being, disrupting their ability to work and earn a living, and causing untold suffering for the patient and family. This condition costs the country an estimated $560-635 billion annually—a staggering economic burden . Worst of all, chronic pain is often resistant to treatment. NIH launched the Grand Challenge on Chronic Pain  to investigate how acute pain (which is part of daily experience) evolves into a chronic condition and what biological factors contribute to this transition.
But you may wonder: what, exactly, is the difference between acute and chronic pain?