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Severity of Back Injuries

Topic Overview

Most back injuries are caused by lifting or twisting and are not serious. Minor injuries can also result from overuse of the muscles and ligaments in the back. Back pain caused by a minor injury will usually go away by itself within 1 to 4 weeks.

Moderate back injuries may result from tripping or falling short distances. They frequently involve excessive twisting of the spine.

Severe back injuries are more likely to cause more serious problems. Severe back injuries may be caused by:

  • High-energy injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls from significant heights, and major sports-related injuries.
  • Direct blows to the spine from moving objects.
  • Blows that transmit significant force to the spine, such as being struck on top of the head or falling on the buttocks.
  • Penetrating injuries, such as gunshot wounds or stab wounds.

Severe back injuries must be checked by a doctor right away.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD
Last Revised May 23, 2013

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