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The Most Important Thing to Do When in Acute Pain

When talking about painkillers it can generate a very strong response in so many people.  We all have very specific opinions on taking them but today I want to talk about a time when taking painkillers is a good and necessary thing and can actually lead to a quicker recovery.

The time I am talking about is when something acute has happened, when you are really really sore.  So sore in fact that you are struggling to move,  sleep or do any of our usual activities of daily living such as walk,  getting dressed,  cooking,  driving or even work.  You may have tried a hot bath or some ice but it hasn’t helped.  You may also have tried taking some paracetamol or ibuprofen and it didn’t make a difference.

In these circumstances,  the most important thing for you to do is to go and see your GP and get some painkillers prescribed and then, most importantly,  take them!  Don’t leave them in the cupboard for when things get really tough and you can’t take it anymore.  You need them now!

I would like to make it clear that I am not saying we should all become pill poppers or reliant on taking them to ease symptoms.  This acute situation when you are struggling to sleep,  move and do your normal daily activities is key.  During this particular acute phase,  taking some painkillers can be super helpful in getting you on the road to recovery.

When you are in acute pain taking painkillers is a good thing.  They are designed to help you for a short period of time!  There are several reasons for this but 3 key ones are as follows;

1) You need to get some sleep.

If your symptoms are stopping you sleeping they can help. Sleep is the time when our brain rests,  recovers and processes stuff.  Our body needs some time out too!  When we lack sleep our ability to cope with pain (and other of life’s challenges) can be seriously affected.  Speak to any new Mum, they will tell you!

There are some other things you can try to help you get some sleep such as supporting and positioning your body right. Check out these blogs to get some more helpful info on this;

2) Easing your symptoms with painkillers will help you move easier.

When we are in loads of pain our body is in protective mode and will do everything it can to avoid moving the sore bit, hence why we end up moving a bit like Tin Man! Easing our movement a little will mean we can start reducing those braced movement patterns.  Unbeknown to you,  it is those rigid,  protective ways we move in that can increase our symptoms further and be counterproductive in the long term.

3) We can start to assess you properly.

Sometimes us Physio’s see people who are in so much pain that we can’t do anything to help.  In these circumstances seeing your GP first for some analgesia will be super helpful for your Physio.  It will mean we can start getting you to move through some basic patterns and be able to tolerate changing your position enough to assess you properly.  It will also allow us a window to start doing some targeted exercises specific to your problem.

The biggest take home is that taking painkillers are not, and I repeat NOT a long term solution for you.  Using them during times of extreme,  acute symptoms can be very helpful and also get you on the road to recovery quicker.  By seeing the right Physio,  you can stop your reliance on pills.

Sounds good right?  Moving and moving well is key to this process.  If you have any questions about this please do get in touch. As always, we’d love to hear from you and help you.