Acute Lower Back Pain

Acute lower back pain is typically pain that will improve on its own within six months time and typically involves injury to tissues such as the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the lower back.

In order to diagnose the cause of your lower back and lay out a treatment program for it, you and your doctor must understand two things about it:
  1. You must understand whether you have somatic or neuropathic pain. Somatic pain is pain in which the source can be traced to tissues such as the ligaments tendons, muscle, bone and fascia. As a result to pressure or damage of one or more of these tissues, pain sensitive nerves in the body may be excited, resulting in our experience of pain. But the pain will still be defined as somatic, due to the fact that the source of the pain is not in the nerves themselves. Neuropathic pain, on the other hand, is pain in which the source of the pain signals comes from the nerves of the body, either due to disease pathology or hypersensitivity of the nerves. Neuropathic pain is nerve pain. Either because the nerves become permanently damaged because of a disease such as multiple sclerosis, or another type of pathology, the nerves begin to fire pain signals to the brain, in the absence of a present injury. Your brain is triggered to feel pain, though the pain point or cause is impossible to locate.

  2. Your pain must be diagnosed as either chronic or acute. Acute pain is pain lasting from days to a couple of months. Chronic pain is pain lasting for two months or more. The amount of time that a person has been suffering symptoms may greatly affect the way the doctor treats the back condition, for one main reason. In the vast majority of cases of acute back pain, the cause of the problem is due to a sprain and strain type injury. Sprain and Strain type injuries describe either a sprain if one or more of the ligaments which support the back, or strain of one or more muscle groups which support the back. These injuries may be quote painful, though they will be expected to resolve themselves with little or no medical intervention. Chronic injuries, on the other hand, will be less likely to heal without medical intervention, and will be more likely to involve back conditions that require more advanced treatments such as physical therapy or pain (corticosteroid) injection.
Acute Lower Back Pain: Getting injured is a part of life, and is a rite of passage for all people at all ages and at all activity levels. Regardless of how carefully you protect your body and your health, it is likely that you will suffer from acute lower back pain at some point in your life. Injuries that sprain a ligament or strain a muscle - in your back - may be painful. But these injuries don't last very long or cause permanent damage. Doctors call the pain associated with these injures acute lower back pain, and it is can generally be categorized as somatic pain, as mentioned above. Typical events that cause somatic pain of the lower back include soft tissue injuries - such as abnormal stretch or tear of a ligament or a muscle by trauma, heavy lifting, or a fall. Most somatic pain injuries will heal on their own, within a few weeks. In some cases, somatic pain injuries will take up to 6 months to heal themselves. In some cases, somatic pain caused by soft tissue injuries may never fully heal. Once soft tissue injuries do fully heal themselves, the pain should be gone, though there is an increased chance that the same structure will become re-injured in the future.

Besides the time frame, the second characteristic to acute lower back pain conditions is that the precise cause and source of the pain can be determined. The source of the pain may be identified on medical imaging, through bruising, touch, and when asking patients to perform certain movements. It is easy to diagnose acute pain and to identify the area that is causing the pain.

In extreme cases of severe acute pain and obvious breaks or fractures, acute conditions may require surgery or emergency medical services. Such cases, are rare, though, and most cases of acute lower back pain will either heal on their own or respond to conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, massage therapy, icing, and physical therapy. Nevertheless, some acute lower back pain cases are so severe as to incapacitate the patient, to the effect that the slightest movement is excruciating.