Acute or sudden onset back pain can be due to a number of causes. It’s easier than one thinks to sprain or strain the tendons, muscles and ligaments that support the spine, especially if we are out of shape. While sports injuries are common, sudden onset back pain may also be a result of just bending over to pick something up off the floor. It should be understood that while bending over to pick something up off of the floor may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back it was not that action in and of itself that truly caused the acute back pain in the first place.
Weakened muscles may suddenly go into spasm from performing the simplest movements. If you have a sedentary lifestyle or are carrying a few extra pounds, that can weaken the structures supporting the back, which can lead to acute back pain. There are multiple reasons for your back to just “give out” suddenly. You can rest assured that if there was no direct trauma then the cause of the condition was something that was precipitating for a very long time. If your spinal discs, muscles and ligaments are chronically unbalanced, it can lead to a misalignment in your spine and create the perfect conditions for sudden onset back pain.
Another common cause of acute back pain is a vertebral compression fracture due to osteoporosis. This type of fracture can happen at any time, even simply from sneezing, coughing or rolling over in bed, if the osteoporosis is sufficiently advanced. Acute back pain usually follows a vertebral compression fracture, which happens when the front part of the vertebrae collapse, making the vertebrae wedge-shaped. The acute pain from this type of fracture usually lasts for 4 to 6 weeks, when it becomes a more chronic type of aching pain.
Chiropractic therapy has been proven to be an effective tool in treating and reducing acute back pain, and does so in a safe and cost-effective manner. Conventional medical treatment for acute back pain has not been as successful. In fact, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, which is a research organization sponsored by the federal government, recommended that adults with acute lower back pain first seek treatment using chiropractic spinal manipulation, as it is safe, effective and doesn’t require drugs.
A study published in the December 2010 issue of The Spine Journal found that patients who were suffering from acute lower back pain had positive results after treatment with chiropractic manipulation, as opposed to no improvement in the control group who were treated with pain medication and physical therapy. The researchers reported that after 16 weeks, “78% of patients in the UC [conventional treatment] group were still taking narcotic analgesic medications on either a daily or as needed basis.” And that “treatment including CSMT [chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy] is associated with significantly greater improvement in condition-specific functioning.”
So if you find yourself suffering from sudden onset back pain, consult with your chiropractor, who can determine the cause of your pain and provide safe, effective treatment so it doesn’t become chronic. As a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician I see many acute patients with low back pain. It is interesting to note that many acute low back pain sufferers first seek care at their primary care physicians’ office only to be given a prescription for anti-inflammatory medications or narcotic pain relievers. If the allopathic medical model referred to chiropractors in these circumstances the majority of patients seeking relief from their condition would find the true cause of their symptoms and return to their pre-injured state much sooner. Most chiropractors will look for the underlying cause of the condition that ails you. Seek a board certified chiropractor that addresses not only the area of your complaint but looks for the imbalances that may have caused the condition in the first place.
Dr. Anthony Rivano is a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician located in Florham Park, NJ. He can be reached at (973)845-6282 to schedule a consultation. Or, feel free to fill out the form at this link: /contact