A witch hit, a tooth that hurts, the headache insistent: everyone has to deal with a sharp and annoying pain. What can you do to prevent it from getting worse? And how to solve it quickly? The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of England has recently published a review of the possibilities for managing acute pain with drugs to give precise and up-to-date indications, because patients have high expectations for the resolution of sharp painsThe possibilities are many and it is essential to provide information based on scientific evidence, the authors write. In fact, not all analgesics are the same and, above all, not all acute pains are the same, even if they have something in common, as underlined by Paolo Grossi, director of the Anesthesia, Resuscitation and Pain Therapy Unit of the Asst Center. Trauma Orthopedic Pini – CTO of Milan: The pain a signal, it indicates that the body is undergoing a potential attack and therefore very useful to avoid hurting ourselves even more: we feel pain and remove our hand from the fire so as not to burn ourselves. The most common acute pains are back pain and headache, i abdominal pain, sore throats, ears and the like related to pathologies of the upper respiratory tract, pains musculoskeletal or from minor traumas, toothache: small troubles that we are used to managing alone and preferably at the first signs of annoyance. Today the minimum pain tolerance threshold, we pretend to pass it instantly: it is no coincidence that the market abounds with super-fast-acting pills, notes Grossi. Unfortunately, we often end up taking the painkiller, feel a little better and so continue with the pill even for a long time, every time the back pain, headache or some other discomfort recurs: so you lose sight of the cause. of pain, there is no question of preventing it and skipping the passage of the diagnosis to the doctor. It is easier to take an analgesic than to change it lifestyle which leads to back pain, but so there is a risk that the pain becomes chronic. In other cases, perhaps the danger is not the chronicity of the pain, but the underestimation of the signal that the disease tries to send us: if we have a persistent toothache, which passes with an analgesic but then recurs after a few days, there may be a cavity who should evaluate the dentist; if a blow or a retort continues to hurt for a very long time, the musculoskeletal structures could be altered, for example due to inflammation of the tendons; if the sore throat or earache does not go away, it could be an infection that requires the antibiotic.
We need a diagnosis
It is always necessary to understand the cause of pain, when it does not disappear quickly or tends to recur, specifies Maria Caterina Pace, president of the Italian Association for the Study of Pain. In these cases the doctor must be involved, to have a diagnosis and not undergo unnecessary tests independently as often happens, passing from ultrasound to magnetic resonance in an attempt to find a cause of suffering. In short, menstrual pain is one thing, which can be treated with do-it-yourself and a painkiller, certain that it will then go away; far from it if an abdominal pain comes back in the absence of the cycle, even if for a while it passes with the same painkiller, because it could hide an ovarian cyst or other problems. Self-care is only good for minor pains that disappear quickly without returning, if we have a minimum of doubt or the discomfort persists, it is always advisable to ask the doctor.
Two are the most common but also the most critical conditions to manage with do-it-yourself, back pain and headache: the first in fact often tends to become chronic, the second can hide reasons that must be investigated by the specialist. Arturo Cuomo, director of the anesthesia, resuscitation and analgesic therapy department of the National Cancer Institute of the Pascale Foundation in Naples explains: Acute back pain can be due to contractures, excessive sporting activity or it can also be a sign of a herniated disc; it can be managed with anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and physiotherapy, taking care to quickly resume normal activities because it is now clear that excessive rest is deleterious. However, it happens to many that the episodes recur, or that the pain never passes and tends to become an inseparable companion of the days: they are alarm bells that indicate a high risk of chronicity, so we need to contact the doctor to find and resolve the primary cause of back pain. That almost always an incorrect lifestyle, made up of sedentary and incorrect postures.
The case of headache is different, which should not be underestimated because it often hides disorders to be recognized and treated, as specified by Pace: Sporadic headache from fatigue does not worry, but if it lasts for a long time, it often returns or has uncommon characteristics (in short, the “Circle to the head” after a difficult day, ed) it is necessary to speak to the family doctor and evaluate further investigations: it could depend on neck pain, neuralgia, hypertension or other. Any pain that is not “simple” or passes quickly, in short, must always be referred to the doctor and not managed with DIY, concludes Pace.