Acute pain is an intense, usually short-lasting sensation that can arise from a multitude of causes. Unlike chronic pain, which occurs over a longer time frame, acute pain comes on suddenly and can diminish just as quickly. Sometimes, this type of pain heralds a much more serious condition. Therefore, it warrants full attention so that it does not degenerate into a more prolonged condition that may require acute pain treatment or even hospitalization.
Why Does Acute Pain Occur?
Pain itself is a sensation containing a message. We might think of it as the body’s way of telling us something is wrong; something needs addressing. It forces us to stop what we are doing and take stock of the situation.
Although unpleasant, pain can be thought of as helpful, even as a friend. It lets us know when we are doing something beyond our abilities. It has a protective effect. A person who was completely immune to pain might be envied by many, but would likely end up as a physical wreck- unable to recognize when he was doing terrible and lasting damage to his body. So acute pain is a warning sign from the body which gives us an opportunity to stop and prevent further damage to our bodies.
Treatments For Acute Pain
Inadequate acute pain treatment is commonplace throughout intensive care units, emergency rooms, surgical wards, and hospices. This neglect is prevalent throughout all age groups. Hispanic Americans and African Americans are more likely than other groups to experience neglect when it comes to acute pain treatment.
Women’s discomfort is more likely to be neglected than men’s. This type of ache is usually treated with analgesics such as paracetamol and acetaminophen. The precise mechanism of action of paracetamol is unknown- it seems to act centrally instead of peripherally, or centered in the brain, not the nerve endings themselves.
Aspirin, along with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, inhibits cyclooxygenases, resulting in a decrease in the production of prostoglandin. This has the effect of reducing the acute pain and inflammation often associated with this type of acute discomfort.
Paracetamol has relatively few side effects and is considered safe, although high dosages can result in liver damage, which can be life-threatening, and sometimes kidney damage. Side effects of NSAIDs include renal failure, peptic ulcers, allergic reactions, and sometimes hearing loss.
They can also increase hemorrhage risk by negatively affecting platelet function. Giving aspirin to children under 16 undergoing a viral infection has been known to cause Reye’s syndrome, a severe liver disorder.