Question: “I am confused by the terms acute and chronic back pain. Can you explain them and discuss a few of the main causes for each?”
Billy Hayduk, ND, PA-C: The terms acute and chronic are based on time frame. Anything less than 3 months is considered acute. The most common cause that we see are trauma related like from a car accident or work injury.
Chronic is a term used when the symptoms, including pain, are present for over 3 months. An example would be arthritic pain. Over time we all develop arthritis in our joints as they get a little narrower, which can lead to pain. That pain can last in some cases for a prolonged period of time.