Pain can be referred to as an unpleasant sensation caused by actual or perceived injury on the body tissues. Pain causes different levels of physical and emotional reactions and the sensation to pain is said to have evolved over the years to protect individuals from harm by causing them to do certain things and avoid others.
Pain is experienced in different levels and can either be either acute or chronic. Acute pain is of sudden onset and comes about due to injury. On the other hand, chronic pain goes on for weeks and even months and is commonly associated with a condition like arthritis. Depending on your specific case, the severity of chronic pain can be moderate, mild, or severe. This article gives an in-depth look at chronic and acute pain.
Acute Vs Chronic Pain
As earlier mentioned acute pain comes suddenly and is usually caused by something specific. The pain is sharp in quality and lasts for a short period. Acute pain should subside in a few hours or days, as long as the underlying cause of the pain no longer exists. Some potential causes of acute pain include dental work, surgery, labor and childbirth, burns or cuts, and broken bones.
On the other hand, chronic pain is pain that goes on for quite a while, usually many months. This pain can go on even after the illness or injury that caused is long healed. The pain remains active in your nervous system for months and even years. Some individuals may experience chronic pain even when there is no apparent damage or past injury. Chronic pain is linked to different conditions like arthritis, back pain, cancer, headache, and fibromyalgia pain.
Individuals suffering from chronic pain may have physical effects stressing their body such as a lack of energy, limited mobility, appetite changes, and tense muscles. They may also experience emotional effects like anxiety, anger, depression, and fear of injury. This kind of fear can limit the patient’s ability to return to their normal activities.
Treatment for Acute and Chronic Pain
The best treatment option for acute and chronic pain will depend on the cause of the pain and overall health of the patient. The main objective of pain treatment is to return the affected individual to optional and normal function. Pain treatments can be categorized as either non-medical or medical. Let us have a look at what each of these two means.
Non-medical treatment for pain does not entail the use of any kind of medication. It can entail various actions like rest, heat and ice applications, exercise, and weight reduction. It may also mean the use of alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, hypnosis, and chiropractic care.
Medical treatment entails the use of drugs to treat pain. The three main drug forms implemented include non-opioids, opioids, and adjuvants. Non-opioids may include aspirin, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Opioids may include morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, and codeine. On their part, adjuvants include drugs such as antidepressants, tropical anesthetics, and anti-seizure medications.
Although the aforementioned medications can be used individually, doctors may suggest their combination to attract better and faster pain relieving results. For instance, a non-opioid pain reliever can be combined with ice applications and a muscle relaxant to treat back pain. Despite this, the key to full pain relief is to communicate your problem effectively to your doctor to ensure you get the best possible treatment.
The Best Way to Treat Chronic and Acute Pain
Chronic and acute pain do not always have to be hard to treat. The best way to treat your pain is to understand its cause. It is good to note that a variety of conditions and syndromes may cause chronic or acute pain. It is thus critical to have a comprehension of the root of the pain, so that you can manage the pain in the right way. It is good to work with your doctor in the pain management process. This helps ensure that you are getting the best possible service. After the pain has started to subside, it is good to follow up with your doctor to manage your progress and make the needed alterations to your treatment plan.
Many things such as injury and other health conditions may be responsible for the chronic or acute pain that you are going through. It is good to understand the underlying cause of your pain so that you can take the right route to treat it. Although you might treat the conditions by yourself, it is good to reach out to your healthcare provider for professional assistance on the best treatment.