Pain is an unfortunate reality of life. We all experience is at one point or another whether it be from a condition or an injury. Understanding the pain you are feeling is the first step to minimizing or eliminating your pain. Pain is a normal part of life, such as a skinned knee, a headache or some muscle soreness after a workout. However, if the pain becomes persistent and is not remedied by a healthy lifestyle, rest or stretches it may be time to speak with your medical provider. It is important to distinguish the difference between acute and chronic pain, and how to deal with each type of ailment.
What is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain?
- Acute pain is normal pain that you feel after you’ve been hurt. If you’ve sprained your ankle you will feel acute pain if you put too much strain on your ankle. It is a pain triggered by your brain that allows you to understand that you’ve injured yourself. It is a pain that typically lasts less than 3-6 months and is caused by damage to the soft tissue. Acute pain starts suddenly and generally does not last long.
- Chronic pain is a pain that remains long after your initial injury heals. Chronic pain can last weeks, months and even years and multiple attempts at relieving the pain do not work. In some cases the pain lessens and worsens, but usually remains present. Dealing with chronic pain can cause a serious decline in quality of life and should be taken seriously.
When to Seek Treatment
- If you are suffering from pain that has lasted longer than 3-6 months it may be time to seek some medical counsel. Your pain should be relieved by a healthy lifestyle, resting your injury and appropriate physical therapy stretches. If none of these methods are eliminating your pain you are likely suffering from a medical condition causing your pain. Some examples of medical conditions that cause chronic pain are arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, lower back issues and nerve damage.
How to Treat Chronic Pain
- Once you’ve been diagnosed with a condition that is causing chronic pain it is important to realize that this is something you’ll need to deal with for a long period of time if not the remained of your life. Being honest about your situation will allow you to best treat the symptoms you are experiencing. There are several ways to treat chronic pain that do not include taking prescription drugs. Many people find relief from various forms of exercises, practicing meditation, utilizing acupuncture or massage, physical therapy, nerve stimulation, taking vitamin and supplements and even psychotherapy.
Choosing the best way to treat your pain is a unique process for each individual. Seek counsel from your medical professional so you can know exactly what is causing your pain. Then you can develop a plan that fits within your lifestyle and provides the relief that you need.