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Acute vs. Chronic Back Pain


Traditional care pathways for back pain have proven to only offer temporary results, if any results at all. Whether it is pharmaceutical medication, surgical interventions, or any other method taken to approach chronic back pain, we have found that there is simply much to be desired when seeking this type of treatment.

Chiropractic care, however, is developing as an effective treatment intervention for chronic back pain. Due to the value placed on prevention efforts in chiropractic care, many patients nationwide are becoming more aware of how their posture, diet, activity levels, and many more aspects of our health play a role in our musculoskeletal health.

According to a study in the journal titled Spine, chronic back pain is running rampant throughout the United States population. In following 605 patients with acute back pain episodes over the course of two years, researchers were able to track the development of chronic back pain issues in these patients. All of the patients studied were in pursuit of primary care interventions for their back. At the start of the two year period, researchers administered a questionnaire to all of the patients. The results found that on a scale of one to ten, the mean level of pain was 5.6 and the mean disability score was 15.8 using the 0-24 scale of the Roland-Morris framework.

While researchers were only able to truly monitor 521 patients and 443 patients after two years, the results were quite staggering. In the patient population, 13% of patients had chronic back pain at six months and another 19% of patients had chronic back pain at the end of the two-year period.

These results tell us that there is a high propensity for acute back pain episodes to lead to spinal trauma and for these episodes to turn into a chronic condition. Chiropractors and various other medical professionals that deal in the musculoskeletal system, namely orthopedists and primary care physicians, need to take a refined approach to acute back pain episodes. While it may seem like an acute back pain episode may go away once it is treated, there is still the potential for long lasting effects throughout the patient’s life.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Chris Greevebiester

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