Severity of Back Injuries

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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.

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Current as of: July 17, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.