Understanding the Differences between Acute & Chronic Pain

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By clearly understanding the difference between chronic and acute pain, family caregivers can ask leading questions to determine what type of discomfort their aging loved ones are experiencing. This is especially beneficial for seniors with conditions like Parkinson’s disease or dementia-related conditions who may have difficulty verbalizing and describing their pain.

By making positive lifestyle choices, especially eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly, many older adults can prevent or delay age-related conditions that cause pain and discomfort. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elder care. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

 

Acute Pain

Acute pain can be sharp or mild pain that comes on suddenly. If mild, this type of pain is often treated with NSAIDs or conservative treatments like rest and heat or cold applications. If sudden, sharp pain is experienced, immediate attention is required to determine the source of the pain. Seniors may experience acute pain from:

  • Recent surgery (sharp pain after surgery is rarely considered normal) 
  • Dental issues that haven’t been diagnosed 
  • Broken bones 
  • Accidental cuts 
  • Strained muscles 

Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional home care Frederick seniors can trust and rely on.

 

Chronic Pain

Recurring pain that lasts for six months or more is considered chronic pain. Ongoing pain, whether it’s due to a condition like rheumatoid arthritis or an injury that was never properly treated, can contribute to depression and a general lack of energy. 

Chronic pain is typically more difficult to diagnose and treat than acute pain, which often responds well to initial treatment. This is also the type of pain that can limit mobility in seniors. Types of chronic pain that are common among seniors include:

  • Neck and lower back pain 
  • Neurogenic pain (chronic pain from nerve damage, as with diabetes) 
  • Psychogenic pain (ongoing physical pain related to psychological issues common in seniors, such as depression) 
  • Arthritis (and other inflammatory conditions that recur on a regular basis) 

While minor aches and pains are normal, acute or chronic pain is usually an indication something is wrong. Bouts of pain can range from mild to severe. However, each report of pain, especially lingering or recurring discomfort and sharp, sudden pain, should be evaluated by a doctor.

Severe pain can make it difficult for aging adults to handle the basic activities of daily living on their own. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Frederick, MD, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. If you need professional care for your loved one, Assisting Hands Home Care is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today.