Back pain, like other health problems, should now be “considered as a chronic recurring condition” argue the authors of a new study on acute low-back pain. The authors found that symptoms of acute and persistent low-back pain are likely to last longer than six weeks, and can even last up to a year. Since acute-low back pain is typically treated as a temporary problem, the research could significantly alter the way patients receive care.
The research was based on a meta-analysis of 11,000 patients with acute and persistent low-back pain gathered from several studies in a dozen countries. In all countries, patients with acute and persistent low-back pain experienced substantial improvements in the first 6 weeks but often suffered from ongoing pain and disability thereafter. While the majority of acute low-back pain patients had recovered in 12 weeks, those with persistent paint were unlikely to recover within a year.*
This is the latest in a string of recent studies questioning the conventional notion that acute-low back pain is temporary. The authors suggested that patients be better educated about the likelihood of recurring episodes of low-back pain, and that doctors should reconsider how they manage back pain. Since back pain may be a long-term issue, the authors wrote that “a one-off visit when [the pain] is bad is not likely to provide the best outcome.”
Chiropractic has been shown to reduce the frequency of recurring back pain and may help you avoid developing chronic pain.
* In this study, acute low-back pain participants were defined as patients who had low-back pain for less than 6 weeks at that time they enrolled in a study; persistent low-back pain patients had pain for longer than 6 weeks at the time they enrolled in a study, but their pain had not yet become chronic.
Costa OP, Maher C, Hancock M, McAuely J, Herbert R, and Costa L. The prognosis of acute and persistent low-back pain: A meta-analysis. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2012; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.111271.