Pain is a symptom of many illnesses, too many that we can’t be entirely sure of the cause. If you are experiencing acute or chronic pain, how do you know when to see a doctor?
Most of the time, it can be confusing to know when to see a doctor when you experience either acute or chronic pain. If it goes away after some time, there’s no need to spend money on a doctor’s visit, right? Ignoring pain may seem like a tempting option, but you should know when to take care of it yourself and when to see a doctor about it.
Acute vs. chronic pain
Acute pain is the sudden onset of pain that you feel when you break a bone, hit your head on something, or burn yourself. This type of pain typically doesn’t last for long, unless it is not treated immediately. However, it will usually continue to get better as time goes on.
On the other hand, chronic pain is the pain felt constantly. It may last for days, weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime, with possibly brief breaks in between. Chronic pain is a disease in and of itself and needs to be treated. For example, patients in Layton, Utah, who have neuropathy need to seek treatment for their pain.
When to see a doctor
Many people like to deal with their pain at home, usually thinking nothing of it. While it’s true that acute pain will go away on its own most of the time, it’s not a good idea to ignore pain when it causes the following:
- The pain is unbearable or debilitating
- You have trouble breathing
- You get dizzy or nauseous
- You experience other symptoms, such as fever or rash
- The pain has been going on for quite a while now
Sometimes, people even ignore chronic pain because they can tolerate it or self-medicate with pain-relief pills. However, these reasons may warrant a visit to the doctor for your chronic pain:
- You want to have a prescription for the proper meds you should take
- You want to know the underlying reasons behind your pain
- The pain affects your quality of life
- You miss school or work because of the pain
- You have trouble sleeping
- You drink alcohol to ease the pain
- The pain exacerbates existing illnesses
- The pain affects your mental health
- The pain has gotten worse
Your doctor can determine what’s causing your pain and treat you accordingly. Moreover, they can guide you through a pain management program that may or may not involve medication.
Why should you go to the doctor?
Ignoring chronic pain may lead to more severe health problems for you in the future. The sensation of pain may be your body telling you that’s something’s wrong. For instance, chronic pain (and a slew of other symptoms) is a common symptom of many types of cancers.
Both acute and chronic pains are not easy to handle. However, ignoring the problem may be causing you more harm than good. If you experience acute pain that is too severe or chronic pain that won’t go away, see your doctor as soon as possible to diagnose the problem.