Updated: Jun 5
Are you one of those people with pain that never seems to go away? Pain is one of the most common symptoms people experience. Acute pain comes with a specific medical cause and occurs on a limited scale. For example, you don't feel back pain before lifting something heavy, but once you do that, it usually will go away after some short period.
Unfortunately, there are cases when acute pain doesn't disappear quickly and then turns into a chronic one. You may not believe that even simple actions can hurt your body and prevent you from recovering. This adverse condition can lead to serious health issues and negatively impact your quality of life. Chronic back pain, for example, tends to worsen with time and can persist for months, even years, after the initial injury or cause.
Chronic pain has a way of ruining lives and taking control, but it doesn't always have to be this way. Our New York pain management center is here to help. This blog will show you how your acute pain can become chronic so you can avoid them.
You Wait Too Long Before Seeking Treatment
Pain is an unpleasant sensation, and we all want to get rid of it as soon as possible. But if you're like most people, your first instinct when you suffer from acute pain is to wait for it to go away on its own. Unfortunately, however, this instinctive response can be dangerous because chronic pain often results from missed early intervention opportunities. In fact, the longer you experience acute pain, the more likely it is to become chronic.
Chronic pain is defined as "persistent" or "long-lasting" pain that lasts beyond three months. When you're injured, your body's natural response is to heal. That's why it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. However, if you wait too long, your injury can become chronic — meaning that the pain and stiffness don't go away on their own; instead, they often get worse.
That's because the longer you wait to treat an injury or condition, the greater your risk of developing a chronic condition that may require long-term treatment and ongoing monitoring.
Not Paying Attention to Your Pain
Acute pain is a temporary, non-chronic pain that has a known cause and resolves on its own. It's normal to feel some aches and pains from time to time, but there's a difference between discomfort and an ache or pain that lasts for more than several months.
If you don't pay attention to your acute pain, it could turn into chronic pain. This can happen if you ignore the signs of an injury or illness or don't take any action to treat it.
Acute pain is temporary and typically goes away within a few days or weeks. Chronic pain lasts longer than three months, or it comes back again and again. It can have a devastating effect on your quality of life.
If you ignore your symptoms or refuse treatment because they seem mild, they might linger longer than necessary or get worse over time. If you have an injury or other type of acute pain, see a pain specialist to determine if it's something serious that needs treatment or if it's just something minor that will go away on its own (such as a sprained ankle).
Doing Too Much Too Soon
After an injury or surgery, most people go through a period of acute pain. When you're recovering, it's important to take it easy at first, so your body has time to heal. Even if you might feel like you need to get back to normal as soon as possible, overdoing it puts extra stress on your body and can cause further damage if you aren't careful. This can lead to chronic pain later on down the road.
Ignoring Your Lifestyle
When you're dealing with chronic pain, it can be tempting to take the easy way out and just ignore your lifestyle. For example, you may want to skip the gym or avoid activities that used to be fun — but don't! It's true that certain activities can make your pain worse. But there are also plenty of things that can help your body feel better. Exercise is one of them.
Exercise has many benefits. It helps keep your weight under control, which can help reduce pain; it increases mobility; it releases endorphins, which can make you feel happier and less stressed. The trick is finding the correct type of exercise for your needs.
A physical therapist can provide a personalized exercise program based on your abilities and needs. The goal is to teach you exercises that can improve flexibility and strength without causing further damage.
Not Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
Chronic pain has a wider range of causes than acute pain does. You might be surprised to learn that chronic pain may have many different causes. One of these factors is acute pain that has not been treated properly or effectively.
If you experience pain, it needs to be evaluated by a specialist who can help identify the cause. This includes performing diagnostic tests such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to determine the right treatment plan for your condition.
Reacting Incorrectly to the Pain
When you're in pain, it's normal to want it to go away as soon as possible. You might be tempted to take a pill and wait for the pain to pass. But if you don't treat your pain correctly, it can lead to chronic pain.
For example, if you have a bad back, you might take a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory medication. But taking too many painkillers is dangerous. Over time, they can make your body dependent on them, and they don't solve the underlying problem.
Chronic pain differs from acute pain because it lasts longer than three months and doesn't necessarily have an identifiable cause or injury. Acute pain can be managed with self-care, but chronic pain requires treatment plans that are tailored to meet your specific needs.
Treating symptoms instead of finding out why they're there in the first place will only make things worse over time. Chronic pain can be frustrating and debilitating. But it’s important to know that there are many treatment options available to help you manage your pain. And the best way to treat pain is to understand its cause and then treat it appropriately.
Stopping Your Treatment Too Soon
The problem is that many people don't return for follow-up care after their pain has subsided. Instead, they think their pain is gone, so they stop taking medication and stop doing the exercises prescribed by their doctor or physical therapist. But this can lead to chronic pain, which is much more difficult to treat and can have long-term effects on your overall health.
Not Addressing the Factors that Contributes to Pain
When we hurt ourselves, our body goes into protection mode and tries to heal itself as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this means that we get out of the way and let our body do its thing without any interference from us. If we don't move or try to help our body heal itself, then we could be stuck with chronic pain forever.
Many people who suffer from acute pain go on to develop chronic pain. You are at greater risk of developing chronic pain if you:
Are older than 40
Have a family history of chronic pain, especially if you have joint problems or back pain
Have had previous injuries to the same area of the body
Have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease
Have depression or anxiety
Not Seeking Professional Help
It's crucial to take action as soon as you notice the warning signs of chronic pain. If you ignore them and let them go untreated, you could be facing severe consequences. In fact, acute pain can escalate and turn into chronic pain in just three days if you don't give it your full attention and get help sooner rather than later.
The most common reason for acute pain turning into chronic pain is failure to seek treatment. When you experience acute pain, it's important to get expert help from a qualified medical professional as soon as possible so they can assess your injury and determine whether there are any underlying causes that need attention. Ignoring initial signs of an injury can lead to complications down the line — especially if you wait too long before seeking treatment.
If you've experienced pain and it becomes chronic, then there is a possibility that it can affect your mood, personality, and quality of life. That's why it's important not just to leave your pain untreated.
If you're in constant pain for weeks or months, you may think something is seriously wrong with your body. But sometimes the problem isn't serious at all — it's just a matter of getting the right diagnosis and treatment plan.
Seek help from a New York pain management specialist if you are feeling symptoms of acute pain. Treatment works best when you seek medical attention soon after your first symptoms appear. Therefore, it is better to take action immediately instead of ignoring chronic pain.