Physicians use the term “Acute Pain” not referring to a particular type of pain, but referring to how long the pain has lasted. This time frame varies between different injuries, but physicians typically classify acute pain as lasting three weeks to three months. Generally, acute back pain will follow a predictable pattern typical to a specific type of injury. Acute pain will usually start out as severe and gradually fade over time.
What are the Symptoms of Acute Back Pain?
In the spine, acute pain may spread to the back, legs and in the neck or arms. Patients may experience sensations of numbness, burning, aching, or tingling.
How do Spinal Specialists Diagnose Acute Back Pain?
Your spine specialist will review your medical history and perform a physical exam. If the pain has lasted for at least four weeks, the physician may call for X-rays or other diagnostic images. The technician may use the Imaging to rule out fractures or other potentially serious problems in the spine. Patients exhibiting symptoms such as loss of bowel/bladder control or weakness in the extremities may require a more extensive evaluation to determine if they have experienced a nerve injury.
How do Spinal Specialists Treat Acute Back Pain?
In most cases, treatment for acute back and neck pain includes modifying physical activities, physical therapy and/or medication. Patients should discuss treatment options with their doctor when deciding which treatment will work best for their injury. Physicians do not usually recommend surgery to deal with acute pain, barring neurological reasons such as loss of bowel or bladder function.