Chronic Pain Support Group

Physicians and professionalsdefine pain as chronic if it lasts longer than three to six months and is persistent. It's distinct from acute pain that is a direct result of injury or trauma. This support group is dedicated to those suffering from chronic pain. Discuss treatments that have worked for you, find advice for your specific experience, and find support. You're not alone in your pain.

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When is Pain an Emergency?

How do you know when increased pain warrants emergency attention? How do you arrive at the decision to go to the ER? I've had terrible experiences in the past, which I posted about here a few years ago. Now I find myself in the same situation... with the same snapping hip problem... not knowing what to do. Pain hit 9/10 on Tuesday and has stayed there since. Extreme loss of function... not able to bear weight. Sleeping 2-3 hours a night ar most. Appetite gone. Concentration gone. Not able to bathe or put on socks/shoes.


Appointment with PCP on 7/20, no clue how to survive until then.


Replies

bobinmaine
bobinmaine

If it is keeping you awake at night then call your doctor and ask if you can be seen immediately. If not, then go to the emergency room.

Good luck!
MeganElaine
MeganElaine

Just a quick update. Still haven't gone to the ER. Called a larger clinic affiliated with my PCP's clinic and was seen by a PA on Monday. PA ordered a Toradol injection and a few days of oral Toradol until Thursday PCP appointment; no exam/imaging. Injection helped a bit but wore off fast. Still in 9/10 pain and the med combo is making me feel really sick to my stomach. Feel like I'm going insane. Can't sleep/bathe/concentrate.
ItsJustMe2012
ItsJustMe2012

If you aren't able to urinate, have a bowel movement, keep food down or walk, it is time to go to the ER. If you say you can't walk, but you walk into the ER. That is being able to walk. If the meds are making you sick to your stomach, ask your doctor to call in something for the nausea. FYI,sleeping 2-3 hours a night at most is not the same as not sleeping at all.
MeganElaine
MeganElaine

Feel a little silly giving an update when there's so few people around on the board, but figured I'd share: Saw my doctor on Thursday. He ordered some x-rays which showed fluids within the joint that hadn't been visible in previous imaging. They prescribed pain medication and referred me for ultrasound imaging and a US-guided injection into the hip. That's scheduled for next Wednesday.

If I could have done this over again, I would have asked my PCP's office for a referral to one of their clinics that takes same or next day appointments. My pain was urgent, not emergent. There wasn't risk of grievous bodily harm, so ER probably wasn't appropriate. But it really began to feel like an emergency when it prevented me from doing basic self-care like getting myself water/food, showering, putting on clothes, sleeping, or walking. FYI, ambulating on crutches is not the same as walking.
OlderCPer
OlderCPer

I disagree, I think you should have went to the ER. Your kind of out in a small town without a ton of options and its not easy to get into your Dr.'s office for a quick appt. Or that's what your scenario used to be....if that's still the scenario, then going to the ER is what you should do when your pain is at a constant 9/10 with no relief.

What if you'd have called your PCP's office and they'd not have gotten back to you on the same day...you'd still be stuck in pain. There's nothing wrong with going to the ER for pain if your pain escalates to way higher than it normally is and you can't get it controlled otherwise. You take such small amount of pain medication regularly anyways its not like they can accuse you of Dr. shopping or scamming for pain meds. This is still a free country and your still allowed to go to a hospital and be treated for whatever medical condition you have, regardless of who's pretending to be president or how many drug addicts can't keep track of the amount of drugs they've taken.

And if you go to the ER with legitimate escalated pain and they refuse to treat you, meaning ignore you and don't give you any treatment, I'd write down the name of every nurse, tech, intern, resident and attending that asked you a question or touched you and after you went to your PCP's clinic treated you the next day and showed there was a problem that was legitimately causing you pain, I'd file a lawsuit and sue their asses collectively and individually for malpractice and negligence. I'm sick of these small town hospitals who think they're going to change the world by labeling everyone a drug addict.

Off my soapbox now and going back in my shell.

Glad you got an answer and hope your feeling better Megan.
n2braves
n2braves

I really don't think you should ever have to feel badly about making the decision to go to the ER. My breaking point and someone elses may be very different. I feel it is appropriate to go when YOU feel you need to seek help. While it is always better to try to see your own Doctor, that just is not always possible. Sometimes you may just need the reassurance that nothing is seriously wrong and you should never be made to feel badly about that. I know there are people who feel like the ER is only appropriate when you've got a broken bone or something of that nature but I just don't agree with that. I say go when you feel like you need to and just don't worry what anyone else thinks. It might save your life someday.

Cindy
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