A study from the journal Spine finds that patients with acute low-back pain frequently develop chronic symptoms. Acute low-back pain can result from lifting something incorrectly or straining ligaments or muscles in the back. It is often characterized as an episode of temporary pain that will resolve itself under 90 days. In the aforementioned study, researchers worked with 605 acute low-back pain patients. After six months, 13% of patients still had back pain. After two years, more patients had developed chronic symptoms. Even patients without persistent symptoms still experienced occasional episodes of pain.
This research means that you shouldn’t ignore an episode of back pain because it might be the beginning of a chronic problem.
- Donelson R, McIntosh G, Hall H. Is it time to rethink the typical course of low-back pain?. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2012; doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2011.10.015.(In press, corrected proof version).
- Mehling WE, Gopisetty V, Bartmess E et al. The Prognosis of Acute Low Back Pain in Primary Care in the United States: A 2-Year Prospective Cohort Study. Spine 2012; 37(8): 678-684.