What is acute pain? What You Should You Know

By: Wyatt Redd

If you’ve been affected by a serious medical issue (like fibromyalgia), there’s a good chance that you and acute pain have become well-acquainted. Pain is a constant companion to a lot of people who suffer from chronic medical issues. And as you’ve no doubt learned, pain is one of those issues that’s tough to talk about with doctors.

After all, pain is such a nebulous thing to talk about. While your pain may be very real and very obvious to you, it’s hard to give someone else a sense of what you’re feeling physically. And while they may know what pain is like, they’ll never fully understand what your pain is like. That’s why doctors use such confusing terms for different aspects of pain. And two of the most common terms they use are “acute” and “chronic” pain. But that can be confusing if you’ve never heard it before. So what is acute pain and how does it differ from chronic pain? And finally, what does that mean for you?

What Is Chronic Pain?
Everyone feels pain from time to time. But not everyone deals with chronic pain. That’s because the primary feature of chronic pain is that it lasts for a long time in spite of every effort to treat it. Doctors usually diagnose someone with chronic pain based on the fact that they have been in pain for more than three months.

So someone with chronic pain deals with a daily level of pain that is enough to make them seriously uncomfortable and lasts for months. This makes living with chronic pain difficult, and unfortunately, there are a number of conditions that cause chronic pain. These are things like fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis and the effects of chronic pain make these some of the worst conditions to try and cope with.

But this sort of pain is also different from the other kind of pain that you might hear discussed by a medical professional: acute pain.

What Is Acute Pain?
Acute pain is essentially the opposite of chronic pain. While chronic pain lasts for weeks or months, acute pain often resolves itself within a day or two. That doesn’t mean that it’s any less painful, however. Acute pain is usually caused by something that is intensely painful in the short term like appendicitis or a physical injury. And these types of conditions can be extremely agonizing.

Luckily, though it’s just as painful physically, acute pain is usually easier to treat. Because it doesn’t last for months, it can often be managed with a dose or two of opiate pain relievers. This prevents the patient from feeling any of the pain while the condition is treated by doctors or resolves itself.

Of course, that doesn’t make the pain you suffer before you get treatment any less significant

Why Does It Matter?
When you’re talking about your pain with your doctor, it’s always good to understand any technical medical jargon they might use. And that’s also true when you’re in the process of treatment in general. The medical system can get overwhelming at times, so taking the time to educate yourself on the language of medicine can be very useful in helping you get acclimated.

In addition, it’s useful to make a distinction between acute and chronic pain for a number of reasons. First, it allows doctors to tailor their treatment approach to the pain you’re suffering. After all, the treatment for the pain from a car accident is going to be significantly different than the treatment for the long term pain from fibromyalgia. Whereas the acute pain of an accident can be managed until the body heals itself, someone with fibromyalgia is likely never going to stop experiencing pain.

Whereas the acute pain of an accident can be managed until the body heals itself, someone with fibromyalgia is likely never going to stop experiencing pain. This, of course, means that their treatment needs to be handled in different ways. While a doctor might aim to help someone with acute pain avoid as much of the pain as they can, they want to help someone with chronic pain manage it on a long-term basis.

So if you have a condition that leaves you in acute pain, the bad news is that the pain is likely to be pretty intense. The good news is that it should resolve itself quickly and can usually be managed in the short term. So let us know, do you deal with acute or chronic pain? Which is worse, and how do you manage either condition. Tell us in the comments.

Via- Fibro Treating

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