Acute Back Pain
What is Acute Back Pain?
Acute back pain is a term given to back pain which has only been bothering a person for a few weeks, specifically under 6 weeks. It does not mean that this type of back pain is more or less severe than chronic back pain, although acute back pain is usually sharper because of the inflammation and muscle spasm which is often occurring. Chiropractors often see patients with acute back pain.
Causes of Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain only refers to the length of the pain. For this reason, it may be caused by almost any condition. However, chiropractors commonly see people with a physical contributor to their pain, which includes:
- Poor posture: especially whilst seated.
- Bad exercising: using sloppy form or rushing a movement.
- Lifting/bending: even for something as small as a piece of paper!
- Asymmetrical lifestyle: e.g. always twisting to see the TV in one corner.
- Job factors: Manual labour in particular.
- Trauma: direct damage to the area because of a fall or accident.
- Underlying health problems: Other problems can manifest as back pain, although it is usually obvious to your chiropractor when this is the case.
If your chiropractor suspects that you have an underlying health problem or it was because of trauma you may be referred to your GP or a specialist to rule out other causes of your back pain. This obviously depends on the nature of the injury and your presentation.
Can Chiropractic Treatments Help With Acute Back Pain?
Sometimes, acute back pain resolves on it’s own. However, it always has a cause and is never there for no reason! If you know exactly why you got acute back pain (e.g. an accident), and after a week or two it has resolved, then chances are that the mechanics of your body function well enough that exercising and eating well are all that you need to do to maintain good health.
If however, you got acute back pain without knowing the cause, or because ‘you simply bent over for a piece of paper’ then it’s fair to say that you should probably have your Cambridge chiropractor or other primary healthcare worker check you out. After all, it’s not normal to have back pain just because you bent over for a piece of paper! This is particularly true if you have had the back pain for more than a few weeks, because studies (and experience) have shown me that back pain responds quickly to treatment when in the acute (under 6 weeks) or sub-acute (under 12 weeks) stages and takes much longer when a patient has chronic back pain.
Are There Any Acute Back Pain Exercises?
Generally, a person should avoid exercises and take things easy when they have acute back pain. This means avoiding twisting, lifting and bending wherever possible. However, one of the mistakes some people make is taking time off work completely or staying in bed. This only tends to make you feel worse, and then when you do try to get up, your muscles go into spasm. Instead, try to imagine you have a really bad cold; take things easy, but still try to go about your day as normally as possible. Once chiropractic treatments are starting to make you feel better, a program of isometric exercises, stretching and strengthening can be really helpful. As always, consult with your chiropractor or doctor before starting such a program.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Acute back pain is one of the most common things seen by a chiropractor; back pain of less than 6 weeks duration. The earlier you are seen by someone, the quicker your recovery is likely to be. This may involve simply taking it easy, or it may involve chiropractic treatments and exercises specifically for your problem. Fortunately, chiropractic care is a very effective method of treating acute low back pain.
Still unsure about a visit to a Cambridge Chiropractor?
If you live near Cambridge and have pain or other symptoms, or if you want to improve the function of your body, chiropractic is a safe and very effective solution. If you are unsure whether chiropractic care is right for you, then you should consider booking either a first visit or a FREE spine check. During this time, the process of chiropractic care will be explained fully. There is no obligation to continue with the visits.