Back pain can come on suddenly and last less than six weeks (acute), which may be caused by a fall or heavy lifting. Back pain that lasts more than three months (chronic) is less common than acute pain.
As many as 75 to 85 percent of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives. In most cases, this pain is mechanical in nature – it is NOT caused by a serious medical condition, such as inflammatory arthritis or fracture.
Infection. Also called osteomyelitis, a spinal infection is rare but can cause severe pain and is life threatening if untreated. It can be caused by surgical procedures, injections, or spread through the blood stream. Patients with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to developing an infection in the spine.
The discs and cartilage in the back don’t have a very good blood supply, so they rely on the compression and movement of daily activity to force healing nutrients and chemical factors in the tissue, Maher said.
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This is an unholy combination of factors: the exact same symptoms can have either an extremely rare but serious cause, or an extremely common but “harmless” cause that can be greatly aggravated by excessive alarm!
Opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which are also commonly prescribed for back pain relief, also have a highly addictive nature. In fact, opioids are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs today, and are a leading contributor to the increasing rates of fatal prescription drug overdoses. This is why back pain is now one of the primary reasons why so many American adults get addicted to painkillers.
After a thorough review, your doctor probably has come to one or two conclusions as to what is causing your back pain and other symptoms. To obtain more information about your back problem, and to help confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Sometimes lab tests are ordered too. Keep in mind that an accurate diagnosis is essential to a well-developed treatment plan.
Low back pain (LBP) is a common disorder involving the muscles, nerves, and bones of the back. Pain can vary from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp feeling. Low back pain may be classified by duration as acute (pain lasting less than 6 weeks), sub-chronic (6 to 12 weeks), or chronic (more than 12 weeks). The condition may be further classified by the underlying cause as either mechanical, non-mechanical, or referred pain. The symptoms of low back pain usually improve within a few weeks from the time they start, with 40-90% of people completely better by six weeks.
In older adults, about 6% of cases have a serious cause, but 5% of those are fractures — which are serious, but they aren’t cancer either. The 1% is divided amongst all other serious causes. For people under age 55, the odds are even better. BACK TO TEXT
Imaging tests are not warranted in most cases. Under certain circumstances, however, imaging may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Imaging and other types of tests include:
There was a main effect of condition on lumbar posture (p = 0.006) and thoracolumbar posture (p = 0.014). In the lumbar region, the support and standard chair differed by 2.88° (95% CI; 1.01-4.75), with the lumbar support being closer to neutral than the standard chair. In the thoracolumbar region, the support and standard chair differed by -2.42° (95% CI; -4.22 to -0.62), with the standard chair being closer to neutral than the support device. The centre of pressure measure was significantly improved with the pillow (p = 0.017), however there were no subjective changes in comfort.
Pain is considered chronic once it lasts for more than three months and exceeds the body’s natural healing process. Chronic pain in the low back often involves a disc problem, a joint problem, and/or an irritated nerve root. Common causes include:
In rich countries, the number one cause of these DALYs is not surprising: ischemic heart disease, which is associated with well-known Western issues like high cholesterol and obesity. But the number two condition is a little strange: plain, old-fashioned, ever-present, low back and neck pain:
Compression fracture. A fracture that occurs in the cylindrical vertebra, in which the bone essentially caves in on itself, can cause sudden pain. This type of fracture is most common due to weak bones, such as from osteoporosis, and is more common in older people.
Subacute low back pain. Lasting between 6 weeks and 3 months, this type of pain is usually mechanical in nature (such as a muscle strain or joint pain) but is prolonged. At this point, a medical workup may be considered, and is advisable if the pain is severe and limits one’s ability to participate in activities of daily living, sleeping, and working.
Three-factor repeated measures ANOVAs (with group, condition and epoch) were used to identify any significant main effects or their interactions on the lumbar and thoracolumbar angles. Similarly, a three-factor repeated measures ANOVA was used to identify any significant main effects or their interactions on the Least Squares Radius (LSR). There were two levels of group (healthy and LBP), three levels of condition (standing, lumbar support and standard chair), and three time intervals (epochs 1, 2 and 3).
^ Jump up to: a b Dagenais, S; Gay, RE; Tricco, AC; Freeman, MD; Mayer, JM (2010). NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: spinal manipulation therapy for acute low back pain. The Spine Journal. 10 (10): 918–40. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2010.07.389. PMID 20869008.
There are many causes of pain in the back. Symptoms in the low back can be a result of problems in the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area. Pains in the upper back can also be a result of disorders of the aorta, chest tumors, and inflammation of spine.
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Some people seem to benefit from the use of ice or heat. Their use, although not proven effective, is not considered to be harmful. Take care: Do not use a heating on high or place ice directly on the skin.
If you are recovering from back pain, your doctor may ask you to call or return to his or her office for a follow-up visit in about two weeks to confirm that your symptoms are gone and that you can safely resume all of your normal activities.
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