Backpain Types and Terminology

To learn more about specific types of back pain, it helps to identify the type of pain present, similar to a doctor visit when asked, “Is it a stabbing pain or dull ache?” These are helpful healthcare term associated with back pain

ACUTE -Most back pain sufferers fall into this category. With acute low back pain, certain movement ranges for activities may be limited due to pain. But most people recover within about four weeks on their own.

CHRONIC – Also referred to as recurrent low back pain or when acute pain episodes recur for more than three months. This is most generally when medical treatment is sought. Note one can suffer acute and chronic pain at the same time. As secondary health problems be involved. In other words, chronic pain sufferers can be susceptible to acute pain.

ONSET – When the pain began. Acute onset means it occurred suddenly. Insidious onset means it gradually developed over a period- could be days or longer.

DURATION / FREQUENCY Some common questions asked with regards to this area are how often does the worse pain occur and how long does it last.

RECURRENCE When the back pain occurs from time to time with intervals of no pain in between.

PERSISTENCE When the pain is always present.

LOCATION A printed body diagram is usually used to that the patient can refer to the place or location where pain is felt.

MOVEMENT Where the backs pain movement is located. Most generally it is centrally located in the middle of the spine or an injury to either side of the spine. Pain that reaches beyond, for example to legs, is known as peripheral. Other terms associated with movement are twisting, lifting, bending, straightening, arching, vibrating, sneezing, coughing and posture.

ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS When discussing back pain, other symptoms that can come up include, but are not limited to, itching, burning, tingling, weakness or numbness, bladder control loss or change in habit, nausea.

INTENSITY LEVEL A verbal measurement used to quantify pain on a scale rating from zero that signifies “no pain” to 10, referring to your “worst pain ever”. Other criteria to help with understanding this pain indicator are does the scale vary; i.e. does the pain intensify and if so with each occurrence? And within what range on the scale?


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