Acute Pain vs Chronic pain
What is acute pain?
Pain is described as ‘acute’ when it comes on suddenly and lasts less than 3 months. Common causes include: injury, low level burns, surgery, childbirth and dental pain.
What is chronic pain?
Pain is described as ‘chronic’ when it persists for longer than 3 months. Common causes include Arthritis, Arthralgia, Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia.
- NSAIDS e.g. Ibuprofen, aspirin
- Weak opioids eg Co-codamol
- Strong opioids e.g. tramadol, codeine
- Adjuvant therapies e.g. lidocaine
- Stronger NSAIDs eg naproxen
Side effects of naproxen
Long term use of naproxen will often need a prescription of PPIs (such as Omeprazole, Lansoprazole etc.) to help with any stomach problems caused as a result of it – long term use of NSAIDs can cause stomach ulceration which is why PPIs are prescribed alongside it. To avoid being prescribed both, it is often beneficial to try alternative methods of pain management to avoid being prescribed both naproxen and PPIs in the first place. Below are some alternative methods for managing pain.
Physiotherapy – This helps with gaining movement and encouraging blood flow to the tissue; you can be referred through your GP.
Exercise – Physical exercise not only reduces pain perception, but also has effects on mental health, such as mood elevation and reduction of stress and depression. Exercise can be made more attainable through activities such as walking clubs and sports clubs. If pain is intervening with strenuous exercise, gentle stretches can be beneficial.
Diet – Dietary intake can enhance the function of the body systems, directly impacting pain experiences. Dietary advice can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/
Stress management – Reduction of stress changes hormone levels (e.g. release of endorphins) help both the mind and the body to feel calm and relaxed. This helps to reduce pain. Information of stress management can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/stress/
Cold and heat therapy – Cold therapy helps to reduce swelling and heat therapy helps to soothe joints and relax muscles. You can use ice packs, ice baths or cooling sprays for swelling; and you can use heat pads, warm baths or hot water bottles for soothing any stiffness. More information can be found here: https://www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/your-visit/patient-information-leaflets/ice-and-heat-treatment/#:~:text=for reduced times-,When to use heat treatment%3F,the healing of damaged tissues.