Acute and Chronic Back Pain

Back pain affects 8 out of 10 individuals at some point in their lifetime and is one of the leading causes of job-related disability and missed work.1,2 A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 30% of adults have experienced back pain in the prior 3 months.3 Stress on the spine resulting from nerve or muscle irritation or bone lesions can lead to a myriad of painful, and sometimes debilitating, symptoms.

Acute back pain, lasting days or weeks, usually results from a trauma, injury or can be due to arthritis or disc disease. Chronic back pain, defined as persistent pain lasting more than 3 months, presents with similar symptoms to acute back pain, however it can be severely limiting due to its chronic nature. Symptoms of back pain, whether it is due to sports injury, work strain, an accident, or an underlying medical condition, can range from muscle aches or tingling to shooting or stabbing pains in the back, often resulting in limited mobility or range-of-motion. Under some circumstances, people with back pain may experience radiating pain, leading to pain in limbs or other parts of the body. Back pain, the number one cause of disability globally, is diverse in nature; each patient can experience a range of severity in his or her symptoms.4 The American Medical Association recommends that patients experiencing back pain for a few days or weeks, or if nerve involvement is suspected, seek medical consultation to perform a medical history and physical exam so that a doctor can make appropriate recommendations for treatment.5

At the Urban Pain Institute, our goal when treating patients with back pain is to improve function and mobility while relieving painful symptoms. Often acute back pain will resolve with conservative treatment. Our Spine Specialists will work with you and your other providers to diagnose and treat your back pain. If your pain does not respond to conservative treatments, we can employ a number of Interventional Pain techniques to help you find relief without surgery. Visit our treatments page to learn about procedures that we use in our clinic for diagnosis and treatment of back pain.

References

  1. Medline Plus. Back Pain. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/backpain.html. Accessed July 22, 2014
  2. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm. Accessed July 21, 2014
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health, United States, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus/contents2012.htm#047. Accessed July 21, 2014
  4. Buchbinder, R. et al. Placing the global burden of low back pain in context. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology 27, 575589 (2013).
  5. Goodman, D. M., Burke, A. E. & Livingston, E. H. JAMA patient page. Low back pain. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 309, 1738 (2013).