Will Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?

Until recently, researchers believed that back pain will “heal” on its own. We have learned, however, that this is not always true. When back pain is not treated, it may go away temporarily but will most likely return. For more than 33% of people who experience low-back pain, the pain lasts for more than 30 days. Only 9% of people who have low-back pain for more than 30 days are pain free 5 years later.[i]

An important study looked at all of the available research on the natural history of low-back pain. The results showed that when it is ignored, back pain does not go away on its own.[ii] The research demonstrates that low-back pain continues to affect people for long periods after it first begins.

Complete bed rest will make back pain episodes last longer.


[i] Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Engberg M, Lauritzen T, Bruun NH, Manniche C. The course of low-back pain in a general population. Results from a 5-year prospective study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2003 May;26(4):213-9.

[ii] Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Manniche C. Low-back pain: what is the long-term course? A review of studies of general patient populations. Eur Spine J 2003 Apr;12(2):149-65.

Don't stay in bed!

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