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The quantity and quality of evidence available for the management of acute pain has grown rapidly over the last 20 years. Rather than listing current evidence related to specific acute pain treatments, the purpose of this review is to look at recent evidence in terms of its availability and ease of access, synthesis and incorporation into clinical practice as well as some of its limitations.An increasing number of evidence-based medicine tools are available to assist clinicians in the provision of acute pain treatments. However, integration of this population-based evidence with clinical expertise, different patient factors and resource availability in different practice settings is still required if the best outcome is to be achieved for each patient.It is difficult for clinicians to remain updated and synthesize all the evidence available relating to the treatment of acute pain. Assistance is available, but there may be limitations to some of the evidence presented and its application to different aspects of clinical practice and different patient groups.