(SD-SP) Pain is one of the most universal problems on the planet, yet it is also one of the most personal. No two people living with pain suffer in the exact same way. While pain can have a major impact on someone’s life, it can also go unnoticed because it is something that can’t be seen or quantified from the outside. Further, people may suppress how they truly feel for fear of stigma. This Pain Awareness Month, it is important to understand how to recognize and help someone with pain.

Attenuate Acute Pain

Acute pain is pain that comes on suddenly and is usually the result of something new. Falling and breaking a bone or twisting an ankle, a sinus headache and flu aches are all examples of what may cause acute pain. Acute pain can also happen after dental work or surgery. Depending on the severity, acute pain can be treated with common over-the-counter medications (acetaminophen or NSAIDs) or prescriptions that your healthcare provider can prescribe. These medications are intended to only be used for a short period of time because acute pain typically lasts no more than a few days to at most a few months.

Contain Chronic Pain

When pain lasts longer than a few months, it can be defined as chronic pain. Common examples of conditions that can cause chronic pain include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and endometriosis, among others. Chronic back pain resulting from an injury or repeated stress is also quite common. Now there are also reports of people who have developed chronic pain following a case of COVID-19.  In fact, more than 50 million Americans are affected by chronic pain, so chances are you or someone you know may be trying to navigate how to best manage their pain, so it doesn’t disrupt their lives. “There are many ways to treat chronic pain, so it is best to speak with a pain specialist who can truly understand the complexity of the pain and fine-tune a personalized approach,” said Thomas Smith, MD, Chief Medical Officer of BioDelivery Sciences, a company dedicated to driving innovative solutions for the treatment of serious and debilitating chronic conditions.

Mitigate Migraine Pain 

Another cause of pain can come from migraines. While many people think migraines and headaches are synonymous, a migraine is a debilitating neurological disease that has distinct symptoms causing intense head pain. Migraines can be episodic, but if someone has more than 15 migraine days per month, they are considered chronic. “People suffering from migraines can have different triggers and may require different therapies.  Fortunately, many new migraine treatment options have recently become available,” said Dr. Smith. “It is important to speak to a medical professional about any repeated head pain or vision changes. Don’t necessarily dismiss your symptoms as a basic headache.”

No matter what kind of pain someone has, it is important to recognize that it can have an impact on their day-to-day lives. “The best thing to do for someone living with pain is to listen to how they feel and recognize their pain may put limits on their abilities. If they need help getting back to doing what they love, help them find a compassionate healthcare professional,” said Dr. Smith.