What Is Acute Pain? Dr. Jennifer Stevens

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Acute pain is helpful in that it will stop you from further hurting yourself, doing activities that risk further hard or injury and slow you down enough for the body to repair and hear from the initial cause of the acute pain.

Acute pain is the kind of pain we’re used to talking about. So it’s quite helpful. It’ll stop you burning your hand if you put your hand too close to a flame.

It’s the kind of pain that will stop you trying to do 50 sit-ups if you’ve had abdominal surgery, or run a marathon on a broken leg. So it’s really normal pain. It’s the kind of pain we might feel many days of the week. And as I said, it can be quite helpful.

The other thing about acute pain is that it responds usually to the sorts of treatments that we think pain will respond to. So simple medications like Panadol or anti-inflammatories. If it’s really severe, you might get morphine type drugs, say if you’ve had a big operation or a fracture.

And eventually, it gets better. So acute pain is the sort of pain that we normally think about the pain being.

Dr Jennifer Stevens is a Pain Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney and Pain Australia

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