Back Pain Home > Back Pain Treatment

Treatment for back pain is usually only necessary for chronic back pain, which is pain that lasts for more than 3 months. Acute back pain, which is pain that lasts no longer than 6 weeks, usually gets better on its own, without any treatment. Chronic back pain can be treated with or without surgery, although doctors usually recommend non-surgical forms of back pain treatment first.

An Overview of Back Pain Treatment

The type of back pain treatment that your healthcare provider recommends will generally depend on whether you are experiencing acute or chronic back pain.
 

Acute Versus Chronic Pain

Acute pain is pain that hits you suddenly, for example, after falling from a ladder, being tackled on the football field, or lifting a load that is just too heavy. Acute pain comes on quickly and leaves quickly. To be classified as acute, pain should last no longer than 6 weeks. Acute pain is the most common type of back pain.
 
Chronic pain may appear quickly or slowly, and it will linger for a long time. In general, pain that lasts more than 3 months is considered chronic. Chronic pain is much less common than acute pain.
 
Treatment for Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain usually gets better on its own, without treatment, although acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen may help to ease the pain. Getting up and moving around can help ease stiffness and relieve pain. Exercise and surgery are not recommended as treatment for people with acute back pain.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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