Acute Lower Back Pain

Acute lower back pain is not a diagnosis.

It is a description. It is a classification of the pain based on time.

The classification of lower back pain is determined by the duration of symptoms.

Lower Back Pain Classification by Duration

  • acute (less than 4 weeks)
  • sub acute (4–12 weeks)
  • chronic (more than 12 weeks)

Regardless of the classification, over 99% of all acute lower back pain falls under the category of non-specific. Acute back pain is usually of a benign nature that most physician treat simply with palliative measures.

Typically, people are treated symptomatically without exact determination of the underlying cause. Only in cases with worrisome signs is diagnostic imaging needed.

In other words, the physician recognizes that it is not serious and therefore feels it doesn't warrant extensive testing since they usually resolve themselves with time.

Danger of Treating Symptoms

The real danger with this attitude and symptom treating approach is the risk of creating a lifetime chronic low back pain sufferer.

What invariably happens is the sufferer experiences recurring bouts of ever increasing pain and usually reverts to harmful medications for temporary relief. He may become the chiropractors best friend as he will often find the most relief at the hands of the chiropractor.

But the relief is short lived as well.

So you, the low back pain person, may end up spending enormous amounts of money, risking grave harm from prescription and non-prescription drugs, spending hours upon hours in the doctors offices and on the massage table.

On top of all of that you may just end up with years, often a lifetime, of a poorer quality of life and quite possibly one that is shorter as well.

The proper diagnosis, which is not acute lower back pain, was never made and the proper treatment was never rendered. Now you, the lower back pain sufferer, are the victim of such inaction.

Whether from physician incompetence or neglect, you are left with chronic lower back pain.

If the cause of the pain is uncovered and understood the treatment approach would be much different than drugs and chiropractic adjustments.

What is the Real Cause

Most acute lower back pain arises from a sprain/strain type of injury. The injury may be in the nature of a traumatic incident such as a car accident, sports injury, work injury or a fall.

It may also be from an overload injury, such as lifting too heavy an object or lifting in an improper manner.

Sometimes the injury occurs from normal lifting in a normal manner. When this happens you should suspect faulty alignment as the result of scoliosis, foot imbalances, leg length inequality or specific vertebral joint fixations.

Another common cause of this unsuspecting injury is chronic muscular weakness due to trigger points.

Below is a list of conditions that are the real diagnoses which can cause either acute or chronic lower back pain.

Regardless of the classification, acute or chronic lower back pain, the following signs and symptoms, along with your lower back pain, warrant immediate evaluation. If any of the following describes you, you should see your physician as soon as possible.

Red Flags

  • Night pain
  • Recent significant trauma
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained fever
  • Previous or current cancer
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Osteoporosis
  • Chronic corticosteroid use
  • Age greater than 70 years
  • Neurological deficit

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