My Back is killing me! Acute and Chronic Back Pain

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This is part four of a five part series on Back Pain. Click here to read part 1. Click here to read part 2. Click here to read part 3.

 

Acute Back Pain

It is defined as the pain that lasts from less than 3 to 6 months or the pain that is associated with tissue damage. The experienced pain could be described as stabbing, aching, burning, sharp or dull and well-defined or vague pain. The intensity of the pain can vary between mild to severe.

Acute low back pain is most often caused by a sudden injury to the muscles and ligaments that support the back. The pain could also be caused by muscle spasms or a tear or strain in the ligaments.

 

Causes of Acute back pain:

  • Fracture of the spinal cord
  • Compression fractures to the spine due to osteoporosis
  • Muscle spasm (very tense muscles)
  • Ruptured or herniated disk
  • Scaitica
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney infections
  • Pregnancy related back pain

 

Exams and Tests

On first meeting with your health care provider, they will ask for all the details regarding your pain including when it first began, description of the pain, severity of the pain etc. Most acute back pain recedes within 6 weeks, but if it doesn’t then your heath care provider might order certain tests. Generally these tests are not ordered in the first few weeks of suffering from back pain.  They may include X-Rays, MRI Scan of the lower spine, CT Scan of the lower spine or other tests.

 

 Prevention

There are a number of steps one can follow to prevent the chances of developing back pain. These include but are not limited to:

  • Exercise
  • Improving ones posture
  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding falls
  • Bending knees when lifting heavy objects
  • Avoiding/limiting the use high heels
  • Using chairs that offer back support while sitting for extended periods

 

Chronic Back pain

 

Back pain that lasts longer than 6 months can be described as Chronic. The can be classified into two types pain that can be traced to an injury that has healed, examples being an injury, serious infection or an incision from surgery. The other type of chronic pain has no apparent cause whether it’s an injury or tissue damage.

 

Many cases of Chronic back pain can be linked to the following:

  • Lower back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Shingles
  • Nerve damage (Neuropathy)
  • Arthritis
  • Headaches
  • Shingles
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nerve damage

 

Chronic pain affects all aspects of ones life and so it must be treated physically and emotionally.

 

Treatments for Chronic pain:

  • Medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories or even some other type of medications like anti-depressants and anti-seizure meds have been used.
  • Non-medical treatments such as Physical Therapy (also called Physiotherapy), Chiropractic care, Massage Therapy, Home Exercise Programs, Acupuncture, Muscle Stimulation, etc.

This article is for information only.  Please seek medical advice if you notice any symptoms.

 

Next week: Treatments to relieve Acute and Chronic pain.

Content sourced from WebMD and photo courtesy Flickr

 

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Comments 2

  1. I do have some lower back pain, mostly when I get done with work. I think it is probably related to my bad posture at work. Do you have any tips for how to improve my posture? Would a chiropractor be able to help me with this?

    1. Hi James!

      There are a few things you can do to help reduce back pain at work:

      1. Ensure that your chair is offering the right amount of lower back support, also, ensure that you adjust your chair to suit your body. If your chair doesn’t have a lot of support, you can purchase a back support to add to your current office chair
      2. Take breaks, even if its just standing for a few minutes or taking a short walk, something to get you out of the sitting position
      3. Try and sit back in your chair, keeping your shoulders back, not rolled forward
      4. Strengthening you core and back outside of work should also help reduce back pain

      Hopefully these suggestions offer some relief! If you would like to come in for an assessment, please feel free to give us a call at 905-488-1223!

      Thanks again for reading.
      Meaghan- Pro Active Health Group

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