Our Doctor comments on a recent article: “Back pain tends to improve quickly, not completely“
Dr. Sakai’s thoughts:
It is important to understand the difference in the long-term course of low back pain when it is acute (<3 months) versus chronic (>3 months). When low back pain is acute, there is a chance that it may resolve completely or almost completely. However, once pain becomes chronic, then complete resolution becomes much less likely and there will probably be a significant amount of pain that will continue to persist. Understanding this difference can help develop realistic expectations of outcomes after treatment. In instances of acute back pain, treatment can frequently lead to resolution of the pain. If the pain is chronic, then the goal of treatment is to improve function and quality of life, by decreasing the pain to a more manageable level of severity. As the article points out, regardless of whether the pain is acute or chronic, one should try to continue to stay as active as your pain allows in order to maintain function.