The excellent news is that in most instances, acute pain could be treated fairly easily at home. Depending on the injury, you should use the RICE model (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) or other appropriate first aid. Nonprescription painkillers are a helpful option as well. “I feel there’s no higher anti-inflammatory than ibuprofen, and that’s over-the-counter,” says Nagel.
If those measures don’t help, people normally search out a physician for skilled advice. But again, without much standardization in care, “it’s totally depending on who you see,” Nagel says. Often, health care providers will call for expensive imaging tests (which Nagel says may not even be crucial), call for prescription painkillers, and send the patient on their way.
Nagel believes there’s a greater way. One of the vital tenets of pain management, he believes, is taking a holistic approach. “You’ve to take a look at the entire person and never just the injury,” he says. “In what setting did the pain occur, how has it been affecting their quality of life, even the psychosocial features of the injury.”
There’s good evidence that a negative emotional or social response to an acute injury can promote the event of chronic pain—for example, if a person is accused of malingering, or doesn’t receive good support at home or within the workplace within the aftermath of their injury. The perfect approach from a health end result perspective, in keeping with Nagel, is to indicate support for an injured person as more information is gathered.
He also advocates an overall lively strategy in comparison with a passive one. In other words, while doctors used to prescribe bed rest, now it’s more accepted to make use of rehabilitation techniques for orthopedic pain. “Activity is lots higher than passivity at treating problems,” says Nagel. He recommends those that experience acute pain to implement a temporary period of self-care at home, and if that doesn’t appear to be helping, to search out restorative options. Those he endorses include chiropractic care—”the entire field is way different than it was 10 years ago,” he says—massage therapy, low-level lasers, acupressure and acupuncture, and electrical stimulation devices.
Nagel’s guide, in addition to the MyPainPlan resources that will help with acute pain along with chronic pain, could be an excellent go-to for more information on these techniques, so which you could discuss the choices together with your health care provider. Due to the distinct possibility that acute pain can transition to chronic, taking proactive measures as quickly as possible could make a difference after an acute injury or event.