Types of Injury Pain


June 12, 2020

Injury pain is a very large umbrella that encompasses many different types of pain. Pain can be acute, meaning it comes on quickly and can last 3 to 6 months. It is common for acute pain to be treated by over-the-counter medications. Pain can also be chronic, meaning that it lasts longer than six months and commonly stems from an underlying condition such as inflammatory diseases, back problems, or nerve damage. From at-home care to more invasive procedures, pain that results from an injury is treatable. 

Acute Injury Pain

Some of the more common injuries that can cause acute pain include broken bones, burns, cuts, sports injuries, and giving birth. Acute pain occurs suddenly and usually gives a sharp sensation. Acute pain that is caused by an injury can include:

  • Sharp pain 
  • Burns 
  • Swelling 
  • Aching 
  • Fatigue
  • Limited mobility 
  • Pain and discomfort with movements

You can read more about acute pain here

Treatment for this type of acute pain is dependent on the injury, however, there are some general treatments that are applicable for acute pain:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can help temporarily relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • Rest 
  • Elevation if the site of injury is swollen 
  • Ice or heat compresses. Confirm with your doctor which is best. 
  • Stretching and strengthening the affected muscles. Confirm with your doctor if this is recommended or discouraged as this is dependent on the type of injury. 

Chronic Injury Pain

Injuries that can cause chronic pain include post-surgical recovery, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, physical trauma, high-impact falls, and improper weightlifting. Chronic pain can also be a result of health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. Chronic pain is long-lasting pain that lasts longer than three months and can exhibit symptoms of any of the following:

  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Sharp or shooting
  • Inflammation
  • Limited mobility
  • Pain and discomfort with movements
  • Muscle tension

As with acute pain, the treatment of chronic pain as a result of injury is dependent on the injury and symptoms being presented. Any of the treatments for acute pain may be applied to help relieve chronic pain after clearance from a physician. 

Long Term Therapies for Chronic Pain

There are more long-term therapies used to treat chronic pain that may be recommended.

  • Physical and/or occupational therapy. Confirm with your doctor if this is a recommended course of treatment for you. 
  • Nerve blocks to interrupt pain signals being sent in the body. You can read more about nerve blocks for chronic pain here.
  • Surgery may be needed to treat the injury that is causing pain. 
  • Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive procedure where low-level electrical signals are transmitted to the spinal cord to stop pain signals from being sent to the brain. This is commonly used to treat limb and back pain. 
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy, or TENS, uses electrical currents delivered through electrodes placed on the skin to interrupt pain signals sent by nerves to the brain.
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatment, the most common non-surgical treatment for back pain
  • Massage therapy 

Pain that occurs as a result of injury can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and complex depending on the injury. For some, treatment may require nothing more than rest and healing. For others, more advanced treatment may be necessary. Regardless of the injury, there are treatment options to help heal injuries and the pain associated with them.