Acute pain starts all of a sudden and is usually resolved within a short period of time and is often described as sharp or stabbing. E.g. Toothache, headache or sprain.
Chronic pain is often caused by a long-term condition that gradually gets worse. It may be referred to as throbbing or deep pain. E.g. pain associated with cancer or arthritis.

Different types of pain:
1) Dental pain – toothache caused by decay, gum disease, cracked tooth, abscess or pain following dental treatment.
2) Period pain – stomach cramping and pain, possibly spreading to the lower back.
3) Muscle or joint pain – including strains and sprains as well as chronic joint pain such as osteoarthritis, back pain from stiffness or tension due to sprained ligaments or muscles.
4) Headaches and migraines – headaches usually cause a dull and aching pain in the forehead, temples or at the back of the neck, whereas migraines are described as extremely painful headaches usually felt on one side of the head and may be associated visual problems, stiffness or tingling sensations, problems with co-ordination or speaking and nausea and vomiting.

Treatment:
• Paracetamol – is an effective painkiller that also reduces fever. It does NOT reduce inflammation or swelling but is gentler on the stomach than aspirin and ibuprofen.
Paracetamol can also be found in other cold and flu products and therefore customers should be mindful of the maximum daily dosage of paracetamol in order to avoid liver damage.
Paracetamol liquid is also suitable for children from 3 months +.
• NSAIDs (ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, aspirin) – can help relieve pain and fever, and can reduce swelling and inflammation. The suitability of these medicines is based on age, medical history, pregnancy/breastfeeding and therefore make sure you read the patient information leaflet before buying these medications to see if they are suitable for you.
• Combination opioids products – are available for people who need stronger pain relief. These products contain small quantities of opioids such as codeine or dihydrocodeine with paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. These products should only be used if the pain is not relived by paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen alone and should only be used for 3 days maximum. There is a limit of how many products you can buy from this category.

Signposting:

www.britishpainsociety.org
www.painrelieffoundation.org.uk
www.nhs.uk/livewell/pain

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