When to See a Doctor About Lingering Pain

An acute injury seldom leaves room to wonder about seeing a doctor. You know that you suffered an injury, it really hurts, and so you seek medical care.

Many other types of pain, however, leave you guessing and asking questions. When does lingering pain demand medical care? When should my pain go away? What type of doctor should I see if I haven’t suffered an injury?

The team at Prolete Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine can help with all those concerns and you can consult them without needing a referral. You have direct access to their extensive services and experiences — you only need to call and schedule an appointment.

Physical therapists are extensively trained and fully qualified to screen for, evaluate, and treat your pain. When you come to our office, you can learn the cause of your pain, receive physical therapy to alleviate your symptoms, and get a referral to the appropriate specialist when necessary.

If you have any questions about pain, don’t hesitate to call. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you decide when to see a doctor for your pain.

Consider different pain perceptions

Everyone has a different experience when it comes to pain. Some are highly tolerant, while others are more sensitive. Why does it matter? Because the way you perceive pain may not accurately reflect the severity of the problem causing your pain.

Both ways of perceiving pain have an impact on deciding when to see a doctor. If you can handle a lot of pain, you may not see a doctor even when you have an injury or condition that’s getting worse.

If you’re intensely sensitive to pain, you still may decide to avoid the doctor because you figure the underlying problem can’t be that bad.

In both cases, you need to rely on other ways to decide when your ongoing pain needs medical attention.

Red flags tell you to get medical care

Pain that comes with a fever is always a concern that needs the attention of a doctor. You should also schedule an appointment when you have:

Neurological symptoms, or signs of damaged nerves, are a big red flag. Classic symptoms of nerve involvement include pain, tingling, and numbness that appear in your hands and feet or that travel down your arms or legs.  

You may also develop muscle weakness or atrophy if you have damaged nerves. A change in your bladder or bowel habits, like having a hard time urinating, is a sign that you need immediate care due to advanced nerve damage. 

Symptoms can guide your decision

The conditions that cause pain and that need a doctor’s attention often result in other symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

If you have one or more of these symptoms, it’s a good sign that you should see a doctor. If you stay active and continue using the affected body part, you can cause progressive damage that’s harder to heal.

Pain duration makes a difference

Most muscular and soft tissue injuries improve in a few days to several weeks with self-care measures. It’s time to schedule an evaluation when your pain doesn’t start to feel better in 2-4 weeks, lasts longer than four weeks, or gets progressively worse.

Chronic pain always needs help

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts after your injury heals or lingers longer than 3-6 months. This type of pain isn’t going away on its own and the longer you suffer without relief, the more likely you are to develop pain hypersensitivity and long-term disability.

Chronic pain is notoriously hard to treat, but physical therapy is one of the most successful treatment options. The modalities used during physical therapy promote strength, boost circulation, improve movement and function, accelerate healing, and relieve your ongoing pain.

If you have questions about lingering pain or would like to schedule an appointment, call our office in Milford, Connecticut, or use the online booking feature today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

A Closer Look at Common Physical Therapy Treatments

Physical therapy helps you heal and recover from injuries, surgery, stroke, and neurological conditions. But chances are you don't know what type of treatment you might receive. Read on to learn about common physical therapy treatments.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Will I Need Surgery?

Every year, 400,000 people have carpal tunnel release surgery to ease the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome and prevent permanent nerve damage. But that doesn't mean surgery is inevitable. Read on to learn how you can avoid carpal tunnel surgery.

5 Common Causes of Recurrent Back Pain

Most people have at least one brief bout of back pain due to a muscle strain. But 8% of adults struggle with recurrent or chronic back pain that limits their daily life. Read on to learn about five common causes of ongoing back pain.

All About Meniere's Disease: Signs and Treatments

Meniere's disease seriously disrupts your life by causing sudden vertigo that lasts 20 minutes or longer. Though there's no cure, you can overcome your symptoms with the right treatment. Read on to learn how to overcome the problem.

Dry Needling for Fibromyalgia: What to Expect

Fibromyalgia causes extreme bodywide pain and muscle cramps that make getting out of bed or walking seem like impossible tasks. If you struggle with fibromyalgia, dry needling can help ease your pain. Here’s what you should know about how it works.

Is Exercising on Your Own Part of Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy helps you heal, regain maximum health, and get back to the daily life you enjoy. But you only have physical therapy a few times each week. To fully recover and maintain your results, you need to exercise on your own at home.