Is My Back Pain Serious

For people who suffer from regular back pain, trying to deal with everyday life can be a risk. The smallest of movements or actions can lead to discomfort or even agony, making those who struggle with back pain wonder if an end is in sight. If back pain is debilitating, it’s a good idea to see a doctor, but if it’s bearable, you might ask yourself if it’s worth it to go to the doctor, or if you might be able to deal with it on your own -- and it’s difficult to tell if most back pain is severe and long-term, or if it will go away on its own. Acute back pain can develop suddenly and can be caused by straining the back during exercise or labor or by an accumulation of stress.

Most back pain is considered acute back pain, which should dissipate within six weeks or fewer and is not an indication of a long-term problem or serious health issue. Chronic back pain can have adverse effects on your overall health and ability to move comfortably, and it often lasts longer than six weeks. Chronic back pain may appear suddenly or it may build up gradually, and it may disappear and then reappear in the same place as before. Each time it shows up, like an unpleasant surprise, it can affect your ability to comfortably execute the simplest tasks and make you wonder if you’ll ever be pain-free again.

Chronic back pain is usually caused by underlying conditions, though it may also arise as a result of injury. The most common underlying condition that leads to chronic back pain is a lack of muscular strength in the back.

The symptoms of chronic pain may resemble the symptoms of acute back pain and can include shooting pain that reappears after treatment or won’t go away, stiffness or stress in the muscles after prolonged sedentary periods or periods of limited movement, and weakness or tingling in the legs. These symptoms can all affect a person’s ability to sleep readily or comfortably, which all adds to the unpleasantness of back pain.

The key indication of whether back pain is acute or chronic is the duration of the pain. Acute back pain is usually characterized by pain that may be burning or shooting and that appears suddenly. Acute back pain can be relieved with simple, at-home remedies like cold and heat therapies and pain medications, and it may dissipate within as little as two weeks.

Chronic back pain, on the other hand, can manifest in symptoms that appear quickly or build over time, and it is common for chronic back pain to last at least six weeks, if not more. Chronic back pain is also often recurrent, reappearing after comparably long pain-free periods. If you have back pain that lasts more than two weeks and doesn’t show signs of improvement, it’s a good idea to seek medical care. While the cause may not be serious, the effects may be great enough to necessitate prompt relief. You may want to see an orthopedic doctor, or you could consult with your physical therapist or chiropractor.

While acute back pain can often resolve on its own, chronic back pain may require medical attention, as it often results from underlying issues that must also be addressed. In many cases, chronic back pain can be relieved with mild exercise, physical therapy, and continued education about body mechanics, all of which can help keep back pain to a minimum in the long term.

When Should I See A Doctor for Back Pain