Acute pain usually indicates an injury or illness, a warning about a threat to your body. Often a sharp and obvious sensation, it could be of a short duration, such as when you stub your toe, or it could be long-lasting, like the pain you experience from a kitchen burn that hurts well into the healing process.
Generally, acute pain lasts up to three months, and its intensity falls off as healing progresses. Even when it’s temporary, acute pain symptoms are sometimes enough to keep you from living your normal life.
Nichelle C. Renk, MD, and her team at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness in Anchorage, Alaska, now offer a dedicated Acute Pain Service that uses a range of therapies to provide the much-needed relief you deserve.
Acute versus chronic pain
The three month measure for acute pain serves as an informal boundary when defining acute and chronic pain, but it’s not the only criterion. Pain that doesn’t abate as healing progresses can also shift acute pain into the chronic category. Chronic pain is typically a disease of the nervous system. The distinction may be important, depending on how your pain is managed. Some treatments are better suited for short-term versus long-term care.
Treating acute pain
Not every incidence of acute pain requires treatment. You don’t rush to the emergency room when you stub your toe, after all. The intensity of your pain, it’s cause, and how much it’s interfering with your life must all be balanced when evaluating treatment needs.
Certain types of acute pain can impact your life dramatically, even when they cause no significant health issue. Migraines, for instance, can bring life to a halt, even when you know that you’ll be fine in a few days.
Acute pain treatment typically focuses on reducing or eliminating the downtime caused by a pain event. The Acute Pain Service offered by Alpenglow Pain & Wellness specializes in this discipline, providing same-day acute pain appointments three times a week — on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday — when you have pain flare-ups or acute migraines. You may be treated same-day for other conditions too, including those treated with Toradol® intramuscular (IM) injections, trigger point injections (TPI), or normal saline infusions.
Toradol IM injections
Often used for acute or postsurgical pain control, Toradol is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication suitable for treating musculoskeletal pain by injection into muscle tissue. It’s well-suited to short-term pain relief, acting as quickly as opioid pain drugs while lasting longer.
Trigger point injections (TPI)
Some acute musculoskeletal pain originates at trigger points, often felt as knots of muscle tissue that won’t relax, causing a pain response by irritating local nerves. TPI therapy can deliver medication directly to the tissue responsible and relax the muscle. Sometimes the injection itself relieves the pain as does the needle entry into the muscle. TPIs are analogous to dry needling.
Normal saline infusions
Most people know normal saline therapy as intravenous (IV) treatment. This is an effective way to deliver pain relief for acute pain, since a variety of medications in flexible concentrations can be delivered directly to the bloodstream. Acute pain management can be customized to match your pain and its intensity.
These are just a few of our acute pain management techniques available to you and they are covered by insurance. Call our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your acute pain and the best options for relieving it. There’s an answer for your pain. Let Dr. Renk, and PA Audrey, and their team help.