Understanding the difference between acute pain and chronic pain can be very beneficial in treating the discomfort.
Acute pain is characterized by discomfort of short duration usually anywhere from seconds to less than six months. Acute pain is typically associated with trauma or surgery. Acute pain can be initially severe, however over time acute pain decreases with the body’s healing and eventually the acute pain resolves completely.
Both acute pain and chronic pain can however cause the sufferer significant distress in both their physical and emotional health.
Chronic pain is characterized by discomfort that is longer than six months in duration and the longer the pain persists the more traumatic effects the discomfort can have on every aspect of a sufferer’s life.
Characteristics of acute pain are:
Discomfort of recent onset
Symptomatic of recent surgery, injury or disease
Localized and specific in nature
Severity associated with the acuity of the disease or injury process
Effectively responds with medication therapy
Requires gradually less medication in order to treat
Resolves with gradual healing
Chronic pain characteristics are:
Discomfort of long term duration
Discomfort uncharacteristic of injury, surgery or disease
Generalized and nonspecfic in nature
Severity of discomfort out of proportion to the injury or disease stage
Responds poorly to any medication therapy
Requires increasingly more medication in order to combat the discomfort
Persists even after healing
Discomfort increasingly causes sufferer other symptoms such as depression, irritability and changes in lifestyle.
Understanding that chronic pain is hard to manage and therefore must be agressively treated with an array of therapies can be very beneficial to any person suffering from this type of discomfort.
Common pain relievers include
Acetaminophen which can relieve minor pain but is not able to reduce swelling.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin can be used to relieve pain as well as reduce swelling and irritation.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are used to relieve pain, fever and inflammation.
Steroidal drugs such as Prednisone are only available by prescription and are used to treat more serious inflammation such as with arthritis.
Pain medications known as Opioids are often prescribed to treat cancer pain, as well as many types of acute pain. They are also occasionally used for certain types of chronic pain.
Antidepressants are usually used to treat depression however antidepressants can also relieve certain types of pain. Antidepressants are available only by prescription. In some instances antidepressants can also be useful in helping pain sufferers sleep better through the night. Antidepressants also relax the body and help with the anxiety and stressful painful stimuli.
Anti-seizure drugs can also be useful in relieving shooting type pain caused by nerves. The seizure medications can in some instances help to reduce painful stimuli caused by the damaged nerves. Many seizure medications also may help reduce the number of chronic pain attacks such as with migraines.
References for this article include: www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-basics