Acute pain

What is acute pain?

  • Pain that is expected, normal, and often goes away a few weeks after an injury, treatment, or surgery.
  • It starts quickly.
  • The pain may come and go, or it may be there all the time.
  • Unrelieved pain can impact your recovery. It can change your mood, sleep patterns, appetite, or activity level.

How do you describe your pain?

Pain is a very personal response. You are the only person who can tell us about your pain. Your health care team will ask you to describe your pain the best you can.

They may ask you questions about your pain.

What should I expect?

Your health care team will have you try different things to treat your pain. Pain may be treated with medicines and non-medicines. Your team may use different things at the same time.

Your health care team cannot get rid of all of your pain. You must be actively involved in helping yourself feel and function better.

Your health care team may ask you if you drink alcohol, smoke, or use drugs, herbal, or non-prescription medicines. These may change how the pain medicines work.

Your health care team will teach you how and when to take any pain medicine that is ordered.

For your and other people’s safety:

  • Only take your pain medicines for the reason your health care team told
  • you they were being used.
  • Never take more medicine than what is ordered for you.
  • Lock up your pain medicines in your home in a lock box, tackle box with a lock,
  • or a safe. Do not put your pain medicines in the bathroom medicine cabinet, on
  • your bedside table, in your kitchen cupboard or on the countertop.
  • Do not share your pain medicines with others.
  • Please take unused pain medicines to a medication drop box or police station.

Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities

You have the right to:

  • Information about pain, pain relief, and your treatment choices
  • Have your pain checked regularly
  • Make choices
  • Know where to go for treatments that are not able to be given in the hospital
  • Know the benefits and risks of each treatment
  • Be taken seriously
  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Answers to your questions

You are responsible for:

  • Telling your health care team if you are having pain
  • Asking for pain treatment when your pain is not acceptable
  • Following the treatments that you and the health care team decide on
Last reviewed: 
April 2019

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