When patients experiencing back pain or injury come in for treatment, one of the most common questions asked is, “How long does back pain recovery take?” Back pain affects about 80 percent of us at some point in our lives, and when it happens, it can disrupt our routine and lessen the quality of life — so it’s perfectly natural for patients to wonder how long it will be before they can get back to their normal existence.
Unfortunately, there’s no standard time frame for back patients to recover, for the same reason that the causes of back pain are so diverse. Recovery times may vary widely based on many different factors, such as:
- Cause of the pain
- Nature of the injury
- Extent of the injury
- Whether the injury is being aggravated by the patient’s activities
- The type of treatment used to treat it
That being said, we can provide a few rough estimates based on these factors to give you a guideline of how long it takes for the average case to recover from back pain.
Mild Strains and Sprains
If your back pain derives from basic stresses like over-exercising, lifting something heavy, etc., chances are you could be back to normal in a few days simply by stopping whatever activity is causing the pain and giving your back some time to rest. If the strain is more severe, back pain recovery may take up to a few weeks. In the meantime, you can usually manage the pain using over-the-counter medications, or perhaps by aquatic therapy or massage therapy as recommended by your doctor.
Acute or Aggravated Injuries
If your back pain comes from a more significant injury to the spine — either by overuse, overextension or force of impact — you may have a fracture or rupture that will take more time to heal. General injuries that don’t require surgery may recover in about 4-12 weeks in general — however, bear in mind that every injury is different, and so is every person’s normal recovery process. If your injury back pain derives from a degenerative or aggravating condition (e.g., arthritis), you may need to undergo a treatment plan lasting several weeks to several months to relieve the inflammation.
Recovery from Surgery
If surgery is recommended to treat your back pain or injury, the length of recovery time depends on the scope of the surgery and the extent of your injuries. Barring complications, the average outpatient surgery requires approximately 4-6 weeks of recovery time; however, more extensive surgeries may take months to heal, often accompanied by physical therapy and other rehabilitation procedures.
Above all else — be patient with the recovery process, however long it takes. Back pain recovery is possible, but if you aggravate the injury by resuming certain activities too soon, you may only extend the pain and your recovery time. For more information, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today at 404-256-2633.