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Acute and Chronic Back Pain: What’s the Difference?

Nov 15, 2023

Acute and chronic back pain are two different types of pain that affect the back and can have different causes, symptoms, and treatments. A local chiropractic orthopedist in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania explains the differences.

Acute Back Pain

Acute back pain is a sudden and severe pain that usually lasts for a short period of time, usually a few days to a few weeks. Specific events such as a strain, sprain, or injury cause this type of pain. A herniated disc, joint injury, or even something much more severe such as a vertebral fracture, can also cause acute back pain.

A chiropractic orthopedist can be your first stop to evaluate acute back pain. With this type of management it can reduce the need for over the counter medications, and also identify and diagnose the problem. With diagnosis as the focus, you can receive the education you need on the condition and how to prevent further injury, as well as receiving treatment as soon as possible. Swift diagnosis and treatment can improve your prognosis. Acute low back pain, unless it be a traumatic vertebral fracture that puts the spinal cord in danger, does not require immediate surgery. A Specialist like a chiropractic orthopedist is trained to identify conditions that cause acute back pain.

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain, on the other hand, is a long-term pain that lasts for three months or more. A variety of factors cause this type of pain. They include a previous injury, a chronic condition such as arthritis, or a degenerative condition such as osteoarthritis. In addition, a structural problem in the spine, such as spinal stenosis can cause chronic back pain. Treatment for this type of back pain includes conservative care like chiropractic orthopedics, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Only consider adding in exercises once a diagnosis has been made by an orthopedic specialist like a chiropractic orthopedist. Once diagnoses the specialist can instruct you on whether exercise is right for you and your condition. They can also help you change your exercise to make sure that exercise is not the cause of your chronic condition.

It’s important to note that mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, can also cause chronic back pain. Stress and emotional distress can lead to chronic muscle tension and pain that can manifest in the back.

The Key Difference Between Acute and Chronic Back Pain

The key difference between acute and chronic back pain is the duration of the pain. Acute back pain is a sudden and severe pain that usually lasts for a short period of time. On the other hand, chronic back pain is a long-term pain that lasts for three months or more.

If you are experiencing back pain, it is important to see a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. They will be able to determine if your pain is acute or chronic, and then develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. In most cases, acute back pain will improve with time and does not require surgery. 

It’s important to take care of your back and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent back pain. This includes regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding activities that put excessive stress on the back. Additionally, good posture and ergonomics can help prevent back pain.

In summary, acute and chronic back pain are two different types of pain that affect the back. Acute back pain is a sudden and severe pain that usually lasts for a short period of time, while chronic back pain is a long-term pain that lasts for three months or more. Both types of pain have different causes, symptoms, and treatments, and it is important to see a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Seeing a specialist like a chiropractic orthopedist gets you swift diagnosis and treatment regardless of condition. These types of specialists are also able to make referrals for advanced imaging and other forms of care keeping the time spent obtaining them to a minimum. Taking care of your back, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good posture can prevent back pain.

Are you suffering from acute or chronic back pain? Contact our Fredericksburg team of chiropractic orthopedists at Stine Chiropractic Clinic to schedule an appointment.

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