Back pain varies greatly on a case-by-case basis. Even if two of our patients have the same spinal condition, their experiences differ in terms of pain intensity, manageability, and timing of flare-ups.
That being said, back pain can usually be classified as either acute or chronic back pain. Being able to describe your pain is extremely important when seeking medical attention for your back pain, so we urge everyone to keep reading to learn the differences.
Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain is pain that lasts less than 3-6 months. This pain is often directly related to tissue damage, whether it be a muscle strain or the residual effects of a traumatic event.
If acute pain is left untreated, however, it can lead to chronic pain. This is especially likely if the pain is influenced by factors like lack of exercise or anxiety about the pain.
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain is pain that lasts for more than 3-6 months. This kind of pain often persists after the damaged tissue heals. With chronic back pain it is often harder to find a direct cause of the pain, unless it stems from a spinal condition like degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis, both of which cause ongoing pain until treated.
In many instances of chronic pain that we’ve seen, there is no identifiable cause of the pain. This prognosis can frustrate patients, which can actually lead to increased pain. That’s why it’s important to know that your pain is real, even if there is no anatomical reason for it. And all pain needs to be properly treated.
If you or a loved one is suffering from acute or chronic back pain, we urge you to seek professional medical attention. If you’re looking for a spine surgeon here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, please use our Find A Doctor page to do so.