Woman holding head - Photo by Валерия on Unsplash
Woman holding head - Photo by Валерия on Unsplash

Acute Pain

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Acute pain usually presents suddenly with an intense onset of physical discomfort. In many cases acute pain is mild and only lasts a few moments, but in some situations it can be very severe and last a few months. 

Causes
  • Surgery/procedure
  • Broken bone
  • Dental pain
  • Burn
  • Cut
  • Infection
Characteristics
  • New
  • Sudden onset
  • Brief
Physical Symptoms
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Swelling and redness at location of pain
  • Blood if cut/incision

Anticipatory Pain

Anticipatory pain occurs when you are expecting pain to occur. This is often experienced with an upcoming procedure, surgery, or lab draw. Anticipatory pain can present similar to acute pain with increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and sensitivity to touch. 

Anticipatory pain can be more debilitating than the actual painful experience. That is why including integrative therapies into your pain management care plan could be beneficial. Explore the mind-body section to learn more about how these therapies can help manage anxious feelings that accompany anticipatory pain.

Integrative Therapies for Acute Pain

Integrative therapies can work really well for pain management, especially when practiced in preparation for expected pain.  Integrative therapies work by decreasing the mind’s perception of pain, helping to stimulate the relaxation response, to relax the body and strengthen the mind-body connection.

The most impactful integrative therapies for acute pain management are:

Short- Term Pain Management

Acute pain usually subsides after removing the painful stimuli. In some cases this may be a simple solution such as an IV line hurts so it needs to be removed. Other times this might be more complicated such as waiting for your mucositis to heal.

Medication is another great solution for short-term pain management. Make sure to work with your care team to determine what is the best medication to use for your specific pain needs. Medication and integrative therapies can work really well together to treat both the physical and emotional symptoms of acute pain.

 

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