Stop Low Back Pain from Becoming Chronic

Stop Low Back Pain from Becoming Chronic

About one and seven adults in the United States suffer from chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain is described as pain that lasts longer than three months. It has a large effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal activities. So, this makes it important to figure out which factors are associated with a heightened risk for progression from acute low back pain to chronic low back pain.

Review done in 2020 found that 26% of patients who receive treatment for new onset low back pain are likely to still have back pain three months later. And about a third of these patients will still most likely have low back pain at six months.

A February study done in 2021 looked at data from 5233 acute low back pain patients. It was concluded that 32% of these individuals transitioned into chronic low back pain. The research found these risk factors for chronic low back pain: smoking, obesity, severe initial disability; depression/anxiety, and a high score on the STarT Back screening tool, which looks at 9 items.

These are: pain referred to the leg; shoulder/neck pain; difficulty walking long distances; difficulty getting dressed; fear of physical activity; worrisome thoughts; despair about condition improving; reduced ability to enjoy hobbies and other pleasurable activities; and bothersome pain.

In addition, if you receive care outside of current guidelines, you are more likely to have chronic low back pain by 2.16 times. 

Here are some current recommendations for acute low back pain: Reassurance to reduce fear of movement and telling patients to maintain normal activity as they can. Ice and heat, spinal manipulation, massage, and acupuncture all help to relieve back pain as well. What patients should watch out for are diagnostic imaging, specialty consult, and prescription opioids for their pain.

While visiting Back and Body Medical, we will evaluate the whole body and look for dysfunctions in areas associated with low back pain. For example, having tight hamstrings can put you at a higher risk of developing low back pain, so be sure to visit us today if you are suffering from low back pain!

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