NKC Blog - Acute or Chronic Back Pain
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Acute or Chronic Back Pain

If you are suffering from acute or chronic back pain, you are not alone. Back pain (regardless if it's acute or chronic) is the leading reason for doctor visits. Everyone from healthy adults or children suffer from back pain these days. 


While the intensity and range of the back pain may vary from a dull impact, constant aching, sudden sharp shooting pain, and continuous pain, everyone around you at some point in life has suffered back pain which could be caused due to an accident, lifting something heavy, or something that has developed over time, aging, getting too much or too little exercise, and several other things. 


There Are Two Type of Back Pain


Chronic Back Pain - A continuous pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks is considered chronic pain; this is even after the underlying cause of acute back pain or initial injury, causing back pain is treated. Approximately 20% of the world's population is affected by acute lower back pain. However, there is one thing you should keep in mind that even if there is persistent pain, it does not mean there is something medically wrong. 


Acute Back Pain - A short term back pain that only lasts for a few hours, few days, or a few weeks is considered acute back pain. Mostly lower back pain is acute back pain, and can quickly be healed by self-care and rest. However, there are times when it takes a month or two for acute back pain symptoms to pass.


Potential Causes of Back Pain

While it is one of the main reasons individuals worldwide see a doctor, there is an excellent chance that most of these patients do not suffer from a serious underlying cause. Moreover, Medscape found that 97% of the diagnosed cases are acute back pain and do not carry any dangerous or underlying factor. 


That being said, there are times when underlying reasons cause back pain, and can even be life-threatening. Furthermore, there are rare back pain cases due to an extra vertebra causing your spine to malfunction. 


Common Causes of Back Pain

  • Injury caused due to exercise, sudden or awkward movement, or heavy lifting.
  • Trauma caused by a vehicle accident or fall.
  • Muscle spasms
  • Osteoporosis or small compression fracture
  • Persistent constipation
  • Depression and stress
  • Bulging and/or herniated discs
  • Arthritis


Apart from the common causes of back pain, there are potentially severe causes of back pain, there include but are not limited to: 


  • Cancer
  • Spinal infection
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Spinal compression fractures
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Spinal stress fractures
  • Aneurysm


Indication of Medical Emergency

Sharp Pain: If you feel a sharp pain in your back, then you might have a torn muscle or ligament. Furthermore, you might be suffering from an internal organ problem.


Radiating Pain: Pain that moves or shoots in your legs or glutes, indicating nerve compression. 


- Sudden Weakness: If you feel that your limbs are suddenly getting weak, then it can be a sign of compressed nerves or a stroke. 


Incontinence: Back pain and inability to control your bladder and bowels are common signs of nerve compression or a spinal infection. 


Numbness or Pins & Needles in the Glutes or Groin: Commonly known as saddle anesthesia, is a sign of severe nerve or spine condition. 


These five symptoms are a clear sign that your back pain can be associated with an underlying cause, and can worsen with time, this is why it's best to get yourself checked by a healthcare professional as soon as possible. 



Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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