13 Apr Our Bodies and Chronic vs. Acute Pain
Pain is part of life, and it’s what tells us when there’s a trauma and a part of our body needs attention—sometimes medical attention for back pain, neck pain, joint pain and more. Integrated Pain Consultants is committed to helping patients manage their pain by using alternative and holistic approaches. Many times, this helps patients avoid potentially dangerous treatments like long-term opioid prescriptions or invasive surgeries. There are many types and causes of pain, but all fall under the umbrella of two key descriptors: chronic pain and acute pain.
Acute pain is short-term. It’s our bodies warning sign that we’ve been hurt. For instance, when you skin your knee or even break a bone, that’s acute pain. It should go away by itself in a relatively short amount of time. Of course, there’s the possibility that acute pain can become chronic pain. For example, if someone doesn’t seek medical treatment for a broken bone, it can heal improperly and lead to chronic pain. Chronic pain is long-term and often lifelong. Usually, acute pain is considered “good pain” because our body is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s telling us there’s a problem that needs attention. Chronic pain is “bad pain” because the pain becomes a disease.
Why We Have Chronic Pain
The point of pain is to get us moved towards safety and healing. When a child touches a stovetop, the pain tells them it isn’t safe, therefore they will be aware of the danger in the future. Chronic pain serves no such purpose. Even if it’s caused by acute pain initially, chronic pain means we keep suffering from that pain after the point of expected recovery. There’s no specific “cutoff date” for chronic pain, but it’s usually diagnosed between 3 – 6 months (or more) after the pain began.
Chronic pain can be constant, or it can come and go. Sometimes patients figure out ways to lessen the pain, and in some cases this can lead to even more pain and issues. For example, if someone feels like they’re a little more comfortable sitting with their right leg crossed, this imbalance can lead to spinal issues in the future. Many times, chronic pain is a downward spiral. The nervous system can get changed with chronic pain, which can make the person even more sensitive to the pain. The best way to manage both acute and chronic pain is to work with a reputable pain management doctor as soon as possible. Most of the time, there are options besides medication and surgery.
Conditions that Cause Chronic Pain
There are a number of medical conditions that can cause chronic pain, such as arthritis. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common type of arthritis, and millions of American are diagnosed with it as well as other forms of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout). Other medical conditions that can cause chronic pain include diabetes and cancer. When a medical condition is the cause of chronic pain, treating both the condition (when possible) and the symptom of the pain is the best approach.
However, doctors can’t always identify the cause of chronic pain. This isn’t very common, but there are some instances when a diagnosis just isn’t possible. Whether you have a diagnosed medical condition or not, you still have options to manage your pain. If you’ve been suffering from pain that’s lasting longer than expected, it’s critical to get immediate treatment if you can to avoid it turning into chronic pain.
If you do have a medical condition that’s causing chronic pain, it’s important to consider your alternatives. A holistic pain management clinic can help you diminish and manage your pain through non-invasive options like chiropractic care and ARP Wave Therapy or minimally invasive procedures like epidural steroid injections.
The Reality of Pain Management
Unfortunately, most pain is initially handled by primary care physicians or ER medical staff. When someone feels acute pain like a severe laceration, they usually go to urgent care or the ER. Chronic pain patients might schedule an appointment with their primary care provider. These providers are usually only equipped and knowledgeable to provide medication management or to recommend surgery. There is a wide range of additional options available that deserve exploring.
Find out exactly what’s available to treat your type of pain. If you haven’t received a diagnosis yet, a pain management doctor can also pick up where your primary care provider left off. Schedule a detailed evaluation at Integrated Pain Consultants today by booking your appointment online or calling (480) 626-2552.