Pain Types Acute

Acute pain is your body’s way of telling you that you have hurt yourself or that something is wrong with your body. Acute pain is a normal bodily function.

Acute pain is short-term pain. It can last for one second or up to six months, unlike chronic pain, which lasts for more than six months. Chronic pain may sometimes stay with you for the rest of your life.

Types of Acute Pain

Acute pain comes in many types, some of which include:

  • lower back pain
  • muscle pain
  • pain as a result of burns
  • pain as a result of broken bones
  • pain as a result of child birth
  • pain from cuts
  • post-surgery pain.

Acute Pain Management

In many ways, treating acute pain is easier than treating chronic pain. Acute pain has a definite source, unlike some chronic pain problems. Chronic pain does not necessarily have a source and is sometimes hard to pinpoint.

The way that acute pain is treated depends on the source of the injury. A cut may just require some antiseptic and a bandage, while post-surgery treatments might include prescription pain killers. Treatments for acute pain can include:

  • acupuncture
  • compression
  • epidural analgesics
  • hot and cold applications
  • massage
  • medication (This can include both over-the-counter medications and prescriptions.)
  • physical therapy.

Post-operative pain medication can be administered intravenously on a continuous or intermittent basis or taken orally.

Acute Pain Prevention

Acute pain really cannot be prevented. In fact, since acute pain tells you that something might be wrong with your body, it is necessary and should not be prevented. However, acute pain can be managed.

In general, staying in good health and leading a healthy lifestyle can minimize the amount of acute pain that you experience. By staying healthy, you will be avoiding the aches and pains of general illnesses and, hopefully, be preventing more serious illnesses over the course of your life.

Managing Acute Pain

Some studies indicate that acute pain, if not treated promptly, can lead to chronic pain in the future. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that you are in pain and seek help or treatment.

For example, acute lower back pain, left untreated, might result in chronic lower back pain in the long term. In addition, acute pain can be an indication of a disease or illness. If your throat is sore, you may have strep throat. Alternatively, some cancers can cause pain.

Keep in mind that pain management, when properly administered, can help you get out of the hospital more quickly and can reduce your overall health care costs. While enduring pain might make you feel strong or empowered, you may actually be doing yourself more harm than good. Pain management helps your body focus on healing rather than on your discomfort.

Always follow your physician’s instructions when taking pain medications. If the medications are not helping manage your pain, do not increase your dosage without getting your doctor’s approval. Your doctor may be able to alter dosage or prescribe a different type of medication.

Make sure that you consult your physician for information regarding any acute pain that you might be experiencing.


Gharibo, Christopher M.D. (n.d.) Systems and Needs Assessment for a Successful Pain Management Center. Retrieved September 7, 2007, from the Pain Foundation Web site:

Cancerwise (2007). Learn the Facts about Acute Pain Management. Retrieved September 7, 2007, from the Cancerwise Web site: