Back pain can be subdivided into acute, subacute and chronic back pain. Back pain often begins with an episode of acute pain that can persist for a period of weeks. There may then follow a period of subacute pain persisting for weeks to months. Back pain that continues for three months is termed chronic back pain.
I. Acute phase
Rapid recovery in the first month for the majority of patients.
Rate of recovery slows down between 1 and 3 months.
Very few patients recover after 3 months.
- Frank JW et al. Disability resulting from occupational low back pain. Part II: What do we know about secondary prevention? A review of the scientific evidence on prevention after disability begins. Spine 1996;21(24):2918-29