Common Types Of Back Pain

Spine Health has identified three major types of back pain. In order to treat back pain effectively, physicians, acupuncturists, massage therapist and fitness trainers prescribe different therapies for each type pain.

Acute Pain – Acute back pain generally lasts less than six months and more ordinarily about three months. Acute pain can be characterized by the type pain one would suffer from burning a finger on an iron, or banging one’s finger with a hammer. In both instances, the pain is characterized by an immediate shock sensation, quick withdrawal and then slower, aching pain.

Most of us have experienced acute back pain at some point. The biggest problem is that the longer this pain persists, the more likely it is to cause other complications and lead to more advanced, more sustained pain. Often, this pain is caused by lack of exercise, emotional stress or anxiety. If this pain migrates to the nervous system, the pain will escalate.

Chronic Pain – There are numerous types of chronic pain, but Spine Health suggest the two most common are:

“Pain due to an identifiable pain generator,” such as pain from an injury.

“Pain attributed to no pain generator,” usually pain after the injury has healed.

Certain spine conditions often generate pain. Examples of these conditions could be degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. These conditions are treatable but pain can linger after treatment. The first course of treatment for these conditions is generally non-operative. Fitness, massage and acupuncture are popular pre-operation options. If the pain persists beyond six months, most physicians will often recommend spinal surgery.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain has gained more attention due to recent information derived for several series of important research programs. In most cases involving neuropathic pain, all symptoms and signs of the original injury have been treated. The residual pain that is usually not attributable to any visible signal is now known as neuropathic pain.

As more has become known about this lingering pain, innovative and advanced treatment therapies have been developed. However, research is ongoing and we have much to learn about this third type of back pain. Prior to designation of this category, neuropathic pain was more apt to be classed as chronic back pain.

This type pain is significantly different than pain attributed to an underlying injury. Preliminary evidence suggests this pain is caused by complications with sensory or motor nerves residing in the peripheral nervous system. Hence, neuropathy or neuropathic pain is distinguishable from musculoskeletal pain.

However, terms used to describe this pain by patients are very similar to descriptions of chronic musculoskeletal pain. These terms generally are cited by patients as; severe, sharp, lancinating, stabbing, burning, cold, numbness, tingling or weakness. The pain often is described as migrating through the spine and down the arms or legs.

Diagnosis Important

In order to receive the proper care, physicians now place great emphasis on proper diagnosis. Neuropathic pain is treated much differently than chronic pain. Physicians who have usually prescribed opioids and NSAIDs for back pain now tend to avoid these prescriptions if the pain is attributed to neuropathy. In most cases, the treatment for neuropathic pain are most commonly injections designed to block nerve pain.

Anyone who has experienced back pain can benefit from understanding these three types of back pain. This breakdown explains why treatment for one patient with back pain can be entirely different for another patient with similar pain symptoms.