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How Long Should Back Pain Last?

Back pain is one of the most common medical issues impacting Americans today. Roughly 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, with low back pain being the most common occurrence. Fortunately, this pain generally subsides over time, allowing you to get back to living a pain free life. However, severe back injuries can persist for a very long time and require medical treatment to correct the issue.

After a back injury, it’s common to wonder how long your back pain will last. There are a variety of factors which impact the duration of your back pain, making it impossible to provide you with an exact length of time before your specific injury will heal. These factors include:

However, the following guidelines can help provide an estimate for how long you should expect your back pain to last.

Duration of Acute (Short-Term) Back Pain

When back pain is short term in nature, it is considered to be acute. In general, most acute back pain is related to muscular and soft tissue issues. They are typically caused by overuse or overextension during an activity, or from an accident that causes trauma to the spinal region.

The mildest form of acute back pain is commonly associated with mild strains and sprains which occur when your back becomes stressed from lifting a heavy object or over-exercising. Often, this type of back pain will subside within a few days if you discontinue the activity responsible for the pain and provide your back with ample rest. More severe strains may take several weeks for the pain to resolve.

When acute back pain is caused by a more significant spinal injury such as a fracture or rupture, you will generally require more time to heal. In general, severe acute back pain should resolve within 4-12 weeks unless spine surgery is required.

Duration of Chronic Back Pain

duration of chronic back pain If your back pain lasts more than 12 weeks, it is considered to be chronic. Chronic back pain is typically caused by a degenerative condition such as arthritis or from an inflammation of the vertebrae in the lower regions of your spine.

Chronic back pain typically requires a longer treatment plan to alleviate the inflammation in the region. Often, chronic back pain can be managed with a variety of nonsurgical treatments, including:

The exact duration of these treatments can vary significantly based on the severity and location of your injury. In general, it can take between several weeks to several months to relieve the inflammation causing chronic back pain. If these nonsurgical treatments fail to alleviate your pain, spine surgery may be required to correct the issue.

Helping You Restore a Pain Free Life

Ongoing back pain can be extremely debilitating, preventing you from performing routine daily activities and negatively impacting your quality of life. At Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, we can help you restore a pain free life so that you can resume the activities you love once again.

Our team includes some of the most experienced board-certified, fellowship trained spine surgeons on the Western Slope. This allows us to deliver the exceptional quality medical care you deserve. While we always strive to treat your back pain with nonsurgical solutions, our spine surgeons have extensive experience performing a wide range of surgical procedures and regularly achieve outcomes that exceed industry standards.

In addition, you’ll benefit from having your rehab run by our in-house physical therapy team. Our spine surgeons and our physical therapists will work closely to coordinate your treatment plan, ensuring everyone on your care team is aligned every step of the way.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Colorado Advanced Orthopedics serves patients in Meeker and throughout the White River Valley.

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