How do you deal with acute pain in the early stages?

by Dr. Mohini Rawat

by Dr. Mohini Rawat

President & Founder of Mohini Rawat Physical Therapy, PC

Are you someone who takes the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic (type of painkillers) as soon as you feel pain?


Let us learn about pain and why that may not be the best course of action.


Pain is a complex and subjective experience that can be described as an unpleasant sensation and emotional response to actual or potential tissue damage. Pain can be acute, which is a temporary sensation that usually results from an injury or illness, or chronic, which is a persistent pain that lasts for weeks, months, or even years.


Acute pain serves as a protective mechanism, warning the body of potential harm and prompting a response to prevent further injury. Chronic pain, on the other hand, can be debilitating and may result from various conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage, or other problems.


Acute pain is a type of pain that is usually sudden in onset and lasts for a relatively short period of time. It is often caused by an injury, surgery, or flare up of existing problem, and is typically described as sharp, stabbing, or throbbing.


Acute pain is a normal and necessary response of the body’s nervous system to alert us of potential harm or injury. It helps to protect the body by prompting us to take action to avoid further damage, such as moving away from a hot surface or taking pressure off a sprained ankle.


Acute pain typically resolves once the underlying cause has been treated or healed, or as the body’s natural healing processes take effect. Treatment of acute pain usually involves medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other analgesics, as well as rest and other supportive measures.


But do you know? Researchers have found that NSAIDs, when used in early acute pain, prolong pain and inflammation, and delay their resolution, which is the opposite of what you want. * Most of the time, supportive measures are enough to alleviate the pain.



Pain management involves a multidisciplinary approach that may include medication, physical therapy, and other therapies. The goal of pain management is to reduce pain intensity, improve function, and enhance the quality of life of people with pain.


It is important to seek medical attention for acute pain if it is severe or persistent, as it may indicate a serious underlying condition that requires prompt treatment.


*Sisignano M, Geisslinger G. Rethinking the use of NSAIDs in early acute pain [published online ahead of print, 2023 Jan 25]. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2023; S0165-6147(23)00016-0.


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