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The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Back Pain

Last updated 6 years ago

Whether it's caused by disease or injury, neck and back pain can interfere with a person’s professional and personal life. Because back pain can affect your ability to perform job duties and attend to familial obligations, it’s essential that you seek medical care from a back specialist when back pain occurs. The following facts provide an overview of the two main types of back pain: acute back pain and chronic back pain.

Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain is typically defined as back pain that lasts for less than three to six months and usually has an easily identifiable cause. In many cases, acute back pain stems from a back injury, which may affect the spine, vertebrae, facet joints, or surrounding nerves. Acute back pain is sometimes referred to as “good” back pain, as it is simply the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong which needs to be addressed. Whether your acute back pain has an obvious cause, such as a fall or a car accident, or occurs suddenly without any identifiable cause, you should consult a back specialist for diagnosis and treatment to help ensure a full recovery.

Chronic Bank Pain
Chronic back pain is usually described as back pain that lasts for longer than three to six months and that may or may not have an obvious cause. In some circumstances, a back specialist may diagnose chronic back pain when a patient has seemingly recovered from a back injury or illness, yet still suffers from residual pain. Other times, chronic back pain may be the result of a severe spinal disorder or occur without any identifiable cause. One hallmark of chronic back pain is its transient nature—it may come and go for weeks, months, or even years at a time.

Are you suffering from acute or chronic back pain? SpineOne offers comprehensive back pain treatment options for a wide variety of both acute and chronic spinal conditions. To learn more about our full range of back pain services or to schedule a consultation at our spine clinic, please call (303) 367-2225.


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