Acute Pain vs Chronic Pain
Pain management is not limited to those suffering from pre-existing chronic pain conditions. While chronic pain is typically ongoing pain that lasts longer than six months, acute pain is a form of pain that comes on suddenly as a result of a physical trauma and lasts less than six months. Acute pain can stem from broken bones, surgery, even childbirth. After acute pain subsidies, people can enjoy going back to life as normal, however the onset of acute pain can cause a serious dip in quality of life. Thankfully there are several treatment options to help bring relief for those experiencing acute pain.
Treatment Options for Acute Pain
Studies show that although acute pain usually subsides over time, patients still have options to treat the temporary discomfort. It is recommended that individuals do not rely on pharmacological treatments and instead implement the following:
- Superficial heat i.e. heating pads
- Physical Therapy
- Strengthening and stretching the exact muscles contributing to pain
- Massage Therapy
- Massage can help provide temporary relief by easing muscle tension
- A common practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine that uses small needles to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissues
- Mindfulness and Meditation
- Conscious relaxation techniques proved to help reduce pain and stress
- Walking, yoga, swimming, anything that keeps your body moving that is not high-impact and promotes strengthening
- This small device sends an electric current signal to the skin over the area where pain resides and reducing the pain signals that are sent to the brain
- Psychological distress can be a result of pain both acute and chronic. Counseling or therapy can help the anxiety and/or depression that can occur from pain conditions
Predicting Acute Postoperative Pain
While it’s not always possible to foresee acute pain, some studies have shown that postoperative acute pain can be predicted, and therefore, prevented. The type of surgery performed is important in assessing and predicting postoperative pain, however, knowing whether or not the procedure was performed for a pre-existing condition is also a great indicator of whether or not the patient may experience postoperative pain. For example, if a knee replacement is done to treat arthritis that is an operation for a pre-existing condition. It has been shown that high intensity preoperative pain heightens the risk of acute postoperative pain. If you are facing surgery to alleviate chronic pain, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about acute postoperative pain as well and work to put together a preventative treatment plan, if possible.
Although it can be uncomfortable, frustrating, and a hindrance, acute pain is not uncommon. Acute pain can come on suddenly, but there are plenty of treatment options available for those experiencing this type of pain. By focusing on mental and physical health, acute pain is very treatable and thankfully, temporary. If you are experiencing acute pain, contact your doctor to discover what method of treatment will work best for you.