What is the difference between acute and chronic back pain?
Acute pain is often defined as temporary pain or pain that subsides after days, weeks or even a couple months. There are many causes of acute pain and it is often more difficult to identify the root cause. It can be strained ligaments, inflammation, pulled muscles, stress and tensions, a result of impact or injury. If your pain is temporary, and you are unsure of it’s cause… do not ignore it as it could be a warning sign of a developing condition such as; sciatica, pinched nerve, bulging disc or herniated discs, muscle imbalances or other common back pain conditions. If you are sore after going a little too hard on the basketball or tennis court, the pain may subside after the muscles relax. In the meanwhile, you can use ice or heat to help give you temporary relief.
Nearly 80% of adults will experience acute back pain in their life.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that is ongoing or pain that returns frequently. Usually with chronic pain, there are well defined causes. If you have chronic pain you should seek the help of a specialist. They can help you determine what may be causing your pain. Keep in mind, many specialists – even doctors, ignore highly effective treatments for sake of recommending prescription drugs. At the end of the day, it is your body and your life and you need to be aware of all the natural treatment options that are available to you. After you have received your diagnosis, research all treatment options before considering surgery.
Why You May Have Chronic Back Pain
It would seem, at first appearance, that back pain is as mysterious as the common cold since so many of us deal with it regularly.
The truth however is much simpler. Though the individual cause may vary, most people can find relief with an effective treatment plan.
Back pain goes from acute/intermittent to chronic for several reasons:
1. We ignore the pain until it is a real problem.
2. The cause of the back pain has been misdiagnosed
3. The treatment is too severe.
There are many different causes of back pain and pinpointing why you have chronic back pain can be quite difficult. The best thing you can do is start documenting as much pertinent information as possible as soon as you begin to feel back pain.
Note when the pain began, what even preceded the pain, how bad the pain is at its worst and what you are doing when the pain is really intense.
This information will help your back specialist treat your back pain, and without it you may have to endure several misdiagnoses and misguided treatment plans
Why You May Have Chronic Back Pain
You may have chronic back pain because you tweaked your back during a sports injury or other trauma such as a fall or auto accident. Often if the injury or trauma isn’t deemed serious enough for a trip to the hospital, we assume we are not badly injured. The truth is that back trauma does not often present right away unless it is a truly horrific injury.
You may wake up the day after a trauma and find you can barely move the pain is so awful. Or it may be several days before the pain presents, but that does not
mean the muscles or discs in your spine are not already injured. If left untreated these types of injuries quickly become a serious problem.
Untreated back problems such as a herniated disc, sciatica or even spinal stenosis will turn into chronic back pain very quickly. Not everyone who has some type of back problem or disorder will experience pain, until the problem is left untreated for weeks or months, at which point the pain will gradually increase to alert you that something is wrong with your back.
Existing back problems pose a unique problem because if you are ignorant to the problems you will continue with your normal life of running, bending, stretching,
twisting and lifting. This will exacerbate the internal damage and you will find yourself with chronic back pain and no idea why.
If you live a relatively sedentary lifestyle free of exercise or other physical activities, you are very susceptible to chronic back pain. For one thing if you
aren’t getting regular physical activity then you will very likely gain weight, which can place great strain on the back. The other issue is that exercise and an active lifestyle will keep the spine stable, the muscles in the spine strong and flexible so they aren’t as prone to injury.
An unhealthy lifestyle that includes a poor diet, excess alcohol consumption and cigarettes can impair healing, causing a small back problem to graduate to chronic back pain. A poor diet can contribute to obesity and lack of physical activity, while smoking has been identified as increasing the risk of degenerative disc disease and other degenerative back problems.
What You Can Do About It
There are several things you can do on your own, or with the help of a medical professional to alleviate the symptoms and treat chronic back pain. The key
however is that you must be willing to put in the work because this isn’t as simple as popping a few pills. Keep in mind, this website does not give specific advice. The information on this website is designed to help educate people in pain.
Your back pain specialist will come up with a treatment plan for chronic back pain that should include at least a few of the following;
•Ice or heat combined with temporary rest – Many people experience temporary relief by applying ice and heat. Rest is also good for a short while, but as soon as you are feeling well enough you will want to get up and be mobile so you can start your treatment plan. (if you are within 24-48 hours of feeling the pain, apply ice not heat) For ongoing relief from nagging pains, look into Far-Infrared heating pads.
•Corrective stretching and exercise (certain stretches can actually make things worse – be sure you are doing targeted stretches that are designed to help alleviate your condition)
• Massage therapy – Seek a qualified therapist that has experience working on people with back pain. Regular massage can help eliminate muscle tension and trigger points that cause pain.
• Physical therapy – Physical therapy is a good way to correct dysfunctions and jump start your new fit lifestyle.
• Inversion therapy – One of the best ways to treat back pain. You can learn more about inversion therapy for back pain on our website.
• Anti-Inflammatory Supplements – There are natural alternatives to prescription drugs that are as effective as NSAID’s without causing those scary side affects. The right combination of healing herbs and enzymes can attack the inflammation at the source, rather than mask the pain the way prescription pain pills do.
• Quit smoking (if necessary)
• Change your diet – With pain comes inflammation. If your diet consists of high carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar… you will want to look into an anti-inflammation diet. There are certain foods that fight inflammation and many foods that cause inflammation.
• Decrease alcohol consumption – This is just good advice overall. Alcohol often contributes to depression, as does being in pain. This is a combo you absolutely don’t want or need.
Before you begin any type of treatment you will need to undergo extensive diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause for your back pain.