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How Long Should You Power Through Pain Before Seeking Medical Help?

Oct 01, 2021

Everyone is familiar with the idea of “powering through pain.” The ability to withstand pain and keep going is venerated, but it can have costly effects, as thousands of athletes know from experience. 

In this post, our expert doctors at Florida Pain Management Institute discuss the causes of pain and when you should seek help.

Why we feel pain

One thing that links all sentient beings is the ability to experience pain. Sometimes, pain is just a response to trying something new and strenuous, like using the new elliptical machine at the gym and stretching new muscles. 

This kind of pain will often subside quickly. It may reappear the next few times you use the elliptical, but over time your muscles will become stronger because they are accustomed to the new stressors. 

Sometimes pain is a severe warning signal from your brain telling you that you need to seek medical help, like when pain wakes you up in the middle of the night after a joint injury, and you can’t get back to sleep because of your discomfort.

Pain that doesn’t go away is an indicator that you need to see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if your pain is so bad you can’t bear your own weight, or can’t sleep at night or find a position that eases your pain. You won’t “get used” to this pain, and you deserve help.

A full 25% of adults experience chronic pain. Of those, one in five experience pain that lasts for 20 years or longer. Living with this kind of pain can wear you down. Pain management is designed to help you live a fuller, less painful life.

When to seek help for your pain

Pain from activity that doesn’t interfere with normal activities for more than a day or two is usually pain you can “power through” and live with since it’s short-term and not significantly affecting your life.

When pain doesn’t go away, is acute, or is accompanied by other issues, such as massive swelling, mobility problems, or functional issues, you probably need medical care. Ignoring the pain to continue the activity can cause additional damage.

Athletes are at high risk for serious injury which can be exacerbated by “playing through.” If a sports injury causes pain accompanied by dizziness, fever, or problems with breathing, then immediate medical attention may be necessary.

If you have severe pain, don’t ignore it. Seek medical attention. To learn more, come see us at Florida Pain Management Institute in Delray Beach, Florida. Request an appointment online or over the phone by calling 561-331-5050 today.