Acute pain is sudden or urgent pain. You may get acute pain if you've had an injury or trauma. Acute pain may also result from surgery or other health treatments.
Doctors define acute pain as pain linked with a cause that they can relieve with treatment. Acute pain means pain that will lessen or stop as healing occurs.
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You may wonder what acute pain means. If you've ever felt pain right after an accident or health treatment, you've had it.
The definition of acute pain is pain that lasts for a certain length of time. Your doctor can often tell what's causing the pain and treat it.
Acute pain that persists after an injury can become chronic pain.
Acute pain can occur in any part of your body, such as your:
If you're injured or treated for a disease like cancer, you may feel acute pain in your organs.
Any type of pain is your body's response to a certain issue.
Nerves at the affected site send messages (electrical impulses) to your brain. Receptors in your brain (neurons) receive these signals and cause you to feel pain.
You may have acute pain for many reasons, such as if you:
Acute pain can also result from:
Anyone can have acute pain, but how you feel pain varies.
If you and another person have the same type of injury, how you both feel pain may differ.
Acute pain may feel more severe if you:
Acute pain tends to go away once you've healed from an injury or illness. Pain may last for a day or for months.
But if you still have pain longer than 3 to 6 months after you're better, it becomes chronic pain.
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Acute pain differs for each person.
In the injured area, you may feel:
To diagnose acute pain, your doctor will talk with you about your symptom and do a physical exam.
If you have an injury, tell your doctor how it happened. If you're sick or had a health treatment, tell your doctor when the pain began and whether it's getting worse.
Your doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
They may also order tests to find the cause of your pain, such as:
Electrodiagnostic tests tell your doctor if there are problems with how your nerves are sending signals to your brain.
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Acute pain often resolves as your injury heals and you recover.
But there's no need to suffer while you wait. UPMC pain management experts can help relieve your pain as you get better.
You may take over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
If your pain is severe, your doctor may suggest:
If your doctor suggests it, massage therapy can help:
A physical therapist can help relieve pain in the injured area through:
Your doctor may use cold or heat to treat acute pain in the affected area.
You may also use creams or gels that contain medicines to relieve pain.
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