The Daily Spine
Tips for Living Well With Back Pain
Some doctors are great about speaking in basic terms when talking about back pain. Others may not realize that they're "talking shop," using terms or phrases that don't mean much to the average person.
Back pain is classified in a number of different ways, with a lot of cross categorization. Here are 4 terms that may have caused you to scratch your head.
Acute v. ChronicDetermining whether or not your pain is acute or chronic is essential to deciding how to treat it.
Acute pain is relatively short-term pain, stiffness and/or muscle tension anywhere in along the back.
Chronic pain is persistent pain.
Specific v. Non-SpecificNon-specific back pain is a way of saying that the pain generally comes from anatomical areas, such as muscles, nerves, joints, or discs.
Specific back pain is the type for which a cause, such as infection or tumor, has been identified.
There are many other terms used by doctors, therapists and even patients to describe back conditions and their treatments. Such terms can be useful for understanding your diagnosis. For a list, check out our Back and Neck Pain Glossary.