Understanding the 3 Types of Back Pain

An estimated four in five Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives, which makes back pain one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor. Back pain is also the No. 1 reason Americans skip workdays.

If you suffer from back pain, whether it’s the result of an injury or a medical condition, the team at Metro Denver Pain Management, or MDPain, can help. Here, we share some useful information about the different types of back pain and their treatment options.

Acute pain

Acute back pain is often caused by a sudden injury to the muscles or ligaments that support the back. The pain is sharp and persists as long as the tissue is damaged. Once your injury heals, the pain goes away.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain lasts beyond the point when the tissue is fully healed — usually more than six weeks. In some cases, such as with degenerative disc disease, the pain goes away if the root cause of the ailment is addressed.

Other types of chronic pain may appear without a clear reason. In cases like this, your nervous system could be to blame for sending pain signals when there’s no tissue damage, making the pain itself a condition, rather than a symptom of an ailment.

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nerves. This can occur due to infection, nerve injury, or an inherited condition. For example, a herniated disc that presses on a nerve and causes pain can be classified as neuropathic pain.

This type of pain is chronic, but it often feels different from typical chronic pain because it’s sharp and stabbing rather than dull and lingering. Other symptoms that accompany neuropathic pain are tingling, weakness, numbness, or even postherpetic neuralgia from shingles.

How we treat back pain

At MDPain, we use a multidisciplinary approach to pain that combines alternative medicine with conventional treatments. Depending on the cause of your pain and the severity of your symptoms, we may recommend:

However, the list above isn’t exhaustive. After a thorough evaluation, our MDPain specialists may recommend a different approach to suit your specific concerns. 

Regardless of the type of back pain you’re dealing with, if you’re looking for a holistic approach to your health, contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Greenwood Village or Parker, Colorado.

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