Doctors estimate that about four out of five German citizens deal with back pain at least once in their lives. Besides headaches, they are among the most common types of pain. In addition to the back, the neck or shoulder area is often affected because the muscles are tense and hardened. Colloquially, back pain is often referred to as low back pain, whereby the latter by definition only refers to the region below the costal arch and above the gluteal fold.
In the majority of cases, back pain is harmless and subsides by itself within a few days or weeks. Sometimes, however, they become chronic and persist permanently. Doctors distinguish between different types of back pain. They can be classified according to certain criteria: According to duration, pain location and cause.
Acute and sub-acute back pain
Doctors use the following classification for back pain:
- Acute back pain lasts at most six weeks. They develop either for the first time or after a back pain-free period of at least six months.
- Subacute back pain lasts longer than six weeks, but no longer than twelve weeks. Then they disappear again.
Chronic back pain
This is how physicians distinguished chronic from recurring back pain:
- Chronic back pain lasts longer than six months. They are also differently pronounced. Chronic back pain often affects elderly people who already have various other health problems.
- Recurring (recurrent) back pain: People have recurring phases in which the back pain flares up. There must be at least six months without symptoms between these episodes.
Back pain: place of pain
In addition to the duration of pain, it is also important for doctors to know exactly where the pain is located. The reason for the back pain can be in the spine and its surroundings, but also in another part of the body. The following classification exists:
- Back pain “lower back”: In the lumbar region most people feel the back pain. Many describe it as “back pain above the buttocks”. One reason is that the lumbar spine (lumbar spine) must withstand greater strain. Among other things, it bears a large part of the body weight throughout life. The muscles often overexert themselves under great strain [SS3] . Injuries and slipped discs are not uncommon in the lower back. The pain can occur in the middle of the back, but also only in the lower right or lower left.
- Pain in the upper back: Pain in the upper part of the spine and neck is also known by many people. The back pain can be one-sided in the upper left or upper right, but can also extend over the entire upper back. The causes are different and range from tension due to physical malpositions to herniated discs and stress. Often the pain is not limited to these regions, but radiates into the shoulders, arms and back of the head. Then tension headaches develop
- Back pain in the “middle back”: This is often caused by irritated and tense muscles or damage to the vertebral joints. The back pain can occur on the right, left (lateral) or in the middle.
Back pain: causes
The causes of back pain are extremely diverse. They can either lie directly in the spine and back muscles, but can also originate from a completely different place. Basically, doctors make two classifications:
- specific back pain, where they identify a physical cause.
- non-specific back pain: this is much more common and about nine out of ten patients fall into this category. The trigger for the pain cannot be clearly identified here, so a doctor cannot treat it specifically.
In addition, the spine can be divided into three sections. Back pain can develop in all areas:
- Back pain: lumbar spine (lumbar spine)
- Back pain: thoracic spine (BWS)
- Back pain: cervical spine (HWS)
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