When should I seek a pain expert?

Anytime you have pain your body is experiencing something like healing or it is not used to it. If you have to ask yourself should I get check? Then get checked!
Brian Waldo

If you have suffered a significant event that causes injury to your body due to a mechancial trauma like being in an car accident, injured during sporting activity or you can relate a specific incident to your pain or discomfort you should consider seeking advice.  Another reason for pain can be overtrainingPain that lasts more than 2-3 days could indicate a strain or just pushing more than your body is ready to perform with daily activities or exercise.  Often times this will relieve itself with rest (so take a day off).  Finally, if your getting specific pain that is nocturnal (night related) and it keeps you from sleeping you might also consider getting evaluated by your physician or health care practioner.

If you are having pain doing simple daily activities, I would suggest going to your doctor right away. It's better to be safe than sorry. Pain now, can lead to more serious issues later!
Melanie Knox

This may depend on the type of pain, ie. sharp chest pain calls for immediate help vs. muscle soreness or aches which may subside. A general guideline I use is as follows:

Soreness, a dull ache in muscle a day or two after exercise/activity. It fades in 2-4 days.

Strain, sharp and sudden pain focused on a particular point caused by a specific movement, ie. fall, lifting heavy object, stretching too far. Typically lasts 1-3 weeks but if pain returns when resuming activity, consult primary care doctor who can decide if you need a specialist.

Sprain, a joint twists unnaturally, popping sensation & intense pain caused by an awkward move. Common in wrists, ankles, & knees. Lasts 2-3 weeks or 4+ weeks if severe. If swollen & won't support weight after 24-48 hrs, may need MRI to determine if torn ligament or broken bone.

Overuse injury, a nagging pain gradually increasing & staying, ie. tennis elbow or runner's knee. Typically from repetitive movement. 2-4 weeks rest from activity. If after rest period, pain persists or gets progressively worse, schedule with a sports doctor who can diagnos & perscribe treatment.

First, understand their is a difference between pain and discomfort (soreness). Very important to pay attention to your body's internal voice...not a good idea to work through pain. Sharecare is a great resource to find an expert in your area to help you better understand the origin of the pain and get you back on road to healthy life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.