Acute Pain

Acute pain is often straightforward to treat with a range of analgesics and other interventions depending on the pain severity. Opioids are often useful for treating acute pain and usually only need to be given for a period of a few days. Pain is often more severe immediately following surgery, trauma or acute medical illness and then reduces with time and healing, allowing a reduction in analgesia. Refer to local guidelines and management of opioids for further guidance.

Opioids are not indicated for the management of headache, migraine, or back pain; see:

Guidance on chronic non-malignant pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months duration) can be found here.

Guidance on the treatment of pain in palliative care: see section 16.2 Pain control in palliative care

Acute Pain Management – local guidelines

  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Acute Pain Guidelines can be found here
  • The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust Pain Management Guidelines can be found here (intranet users only)


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