Acute Back Injuries

Acute back injuries are the second most common reason for doctor’s visits, just behind colds and flus. An acute back injury is one that happens suddenly. It can be caused by any number of accidents or incidents of poor body mechanics, such as poor lifting. It is different from a chronic back condition, which can come on over years of stress on your back.

Sudden back pain can have many causes. One of the most common is lifting an object that is too heavy or lifting incorrectly. This will often cause pain right away. In other cases, an acute back injury can be suffered after a motor vehicle accident. The force of the crash can put enormous stress on your back, leading to strains or even muscle tears in the back. Bending, reaching, or twisting can also lead to acute back injuries that cause significant pain.

Severe back pain can be caused by conditions that put stress and pressure on nerve roots, such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis. Although rare, acute back pain can occur as a result of spinal tumors that grow on the spinal cord or on nerve endings or due to bacterial infections.

The treatment for your back pain will depend on its cause. Some of the treatments ordered may include:

  • NSAIDs or other painkillers – Both over-the-counter and prescription pain medications can help reduce pain and swelling around the injured area.
  • Muscle relaxants – If muscle spasms are causing your lower back pain, medication to help those muscles relax can help.
  • Corticosteroids – These medications, injected at the injured area, can reduce inflammation and speed healing.

Rest, ice, and heat – You may be instructed to rest the area that is injured to allow it to heal. Ice can be helpful in the first days after an injury, as it numbs the area and reduces inflammation. Heat therapy can help later on by relaxing muscles.

Total Pain Care

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