Acute pain is pain that lasts for a few moments, days or weeks. If you have acute pain, your clinician will explain your treatment options. These may include medicines and other treatments. The aim of these medicines and other treatments is to reduce your pain levels to allow you to undertake your regular day-to-day activities. They may not take away all your pain.
Your clinician will explain the possible benefits and harms (the good and bad things that might happen) of the different options. This can help you and your clinician decide how to manage your pain.
Opioid analgesic medicines (pain relief medicines commonly known as opioids) are one option, but they can have serious adverse effects. Your clinician may suggest trying other options first. Other options include non-opioid medicines, and other treatments such as heat packs, ice packs, exercise or physiotherapy. You and your clinician might decide that a combination of two or more treatments is best for you.
If you decide on a medicine, your clinician will give you instructions about what you need to do, especially if you will use the medicine after leaving hospital. It is important that you follow these instructions correctly to get the most benefit.
Talk to your clinician if you are not sure what to do, or if you have questions about:
- How many times a day to take the medicine and if the medicine should be taken with food
- Whether the medicine will affect other medicines you use
- What the adverse effects are and how to manage them.
If you are prescribed an opioid, only use the medicine for the reason it is prescribed, and do not give this medicine to other people, such as friends and family. Opioid analgesic medicines can make you sleepy. If you are prescribed an opioid analgesic do not drink alcohol or drive. Check with your clinician about what other medicines you can safely take, including sleep medicines, so you don’t have any negative interactions with the opioid medicine.