When Chronic Pain Requiresa Trip to the Emergency Room

With more than 100 million Americans suffering from some kind of pain, it only makes sense to dedicate an entire month to Pain Awareness. Pain comes in all forms, from behavioral (emotional) to physical. When it comes to emotional, most discussions surround the pain of depression, grief, loneliness, even heartache. The good news is that help is available to assist in overcoming these forms of emotional pain. Treatments in the form of medications, counseling, support groups are plentiful and readily available. For physical pain, however, it’s a little more complicated, because prior to finding a remedy, it’s important to determine the cause. So, first-things-first, what is pain?


Pain can be felt and tolerated on many levels—from a simple headache or small papercut to severe, excruciating pain, such as what is felt in chest pain from a heart attack or a broken bone or other sports injury.

Pain originates from under the skin in receptor nerve cells. The receptor cells are triggered when a person is injured or becomes ill and sends messages along nerve pathways to the spinal cord and then the brain. Pain medications work by blocking these messages before they reach the brain.

In the medical field, pain is categorized under two types: Acute and Chronic.

  • Acute pain is defined by medical professionals as pain that comes from an injury, illness, surgery, tissue damage or even tissue damage. Typically, it lasts for a week or two, and slowly decreases as the source of the problem heals.
  • On the contrary, Chronic pain is the complete opposite. It is pain that continues and is very difficult to treat and resolve. It can sometimes last months, even years.


According to John Hopkins Medicine, when it comes to different forms of pain, chronic pain is considered the costliest health problem in the U.S. It is the cause of increased medical expenses, lost income, lost productivity, compensation payments and even legal charges. Some of the most common diagnoses that lead to chronic pain include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritic pain
  • Migraine headaches
  • Other disorders such as neuralgias and neuropathies


To understand how to live with your chronic pain, you must first get to know it. Just like when meeting someone for the very first time, you need to learn some preliminary and then specific details about it. So, our best advice is to do your homework and research what you’re feeling. The internet is always a good place to start. Once you feel you have enough information, make an appointment with your primary care physician so that through tests and assessments, a diagnosis can be made with a plan for treatment or therapy.


According to the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA), living with a chronic condition requires changing the way you think about your healthcare and your life. In essence, when you take an active role in your treatment plan, you’ll find it easier to regain control of your life. Some ways to do this is to:

  • Use tools available to better communicate your pain with your physician.
  • Find local Pain Management Programs.
  • Learn more about Interdisciplinary Pain Management.
  • Put into practice Self-Management Skills
  • Self-impose Basic Rights
  • Go from Patient to Person
  • Enroll in Research and Clinical Trials
  • Study Findings from Surveys, Consumer Guides and other Information


Many times, chronic pain becomes intolerable and requires a trip to the Emergency Room. A survey conducted by the ACPA and the American College of Emergency Medicine Physicians found severe pain, fear of a new medical problem, or the lack of insurance as some of the reasons those suffering with chronic pain visit the ER.

If you find yourself falling in any of these categories or others, and need to head to the ER, remember to take with you the following information:

  • Your insurance information
  • The name and contact information for your primary care physician
  • Your pain diagnosis, if you have one, and any other conditions you have been diagnosed with, such as diabetes or a heart condition
  • A list of all medications (prescription and over the counter), including vitamins and herbal supplements you are currently taking
  • A list of any devices or other types of intervention you use, such as a pump, nerve block, or stimulator
  • A list of your allergies

Once you’re inside with the physician, remember, the more information you can provide the ER physician when describing your pain, the better he’ll be able to understand your immediate problem to determine the next course of action.

For more information on Pain Management and Pain Awareness Month, visit https://www.theacpa.org/.


Named the 2022 Readers’ Choice Award for ‘Best Stand-Alone Emergency Room’ and ‘Best Emergency Room,’ Clear Choice ER is a full-service emergency room offering you a safe alternative to overcrowded hospital ERs. We are available for all your emergency needs without the typical long wait times found in hospital ERs. Come and see for yourself the difference in emergency care that you’ve always deserved. We are located at 7105 N. Bartlett, between Jacaman Rd. and Del Mar Blvd. You can also reach us at (956) 242-4225 or on our FB or Instagram pages.