Acute (less than four weeks duration)
Chronic (greater than four weeks duration)
Acute back pain is very common and is one of the top reasons that patients seek care from their primary care physician. About 90 percent of the adult population will suffer from back pain in their lifetime, so it's good to know some facts about this condition.
A visit to your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist or acupuncturist can all be helpful in acute back pain. In the majority of these cases, the back pain improves regardless of the treatment used. Most of these cases will resolve in four to six weeks.
Unfortunately, chronic back pain is more complicated, as there can be many different and overlapping reasons for back pain. That is why there is not one single test or treatment that works for everyone.
In cases of chronic back pain, seeing a back pain specialist, sports medicine physician, spine orthopedist, neurologist, or neurosurgeon is best. They can best sort out the next step in determining the cause and ultimate options that might help. In some cases there is no cure to chronic back pain, but there are treatment options that can help improve your quality of life.