When you suffer from a back injury, even a mild one, it can have a massive impact on your life. This is because you rely on your back to do just about anything, whether it is sitting, standing or even laying down.
The stages of recovery from a back injury depend on many factors, including your age and state of health, the severity of the injury and where it occurred. But it helps to have a general idea of the healing process, so you roughly know what to expect.
Very Well Health discusses the stages of healing that a back injury goes through. Specifically, they discuss the three stages of inflammation associated with back injuries. In the first stage, you experience acute inflammation. This starts immediately after an injury and can last as long as 72 hours. This can include swelling, redness, diminished function, and pain even when at rest. Scar tissue begins to form at this stage. Generally speaking, gentle movement, rest, anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy will help the most at this stage.
The sub-acute stage follows. Damage repairs, new connective tissues and capillaries grow, and inflammation decreases. Scar tissue continues to form. It is important to follow doctor’s orders when recovering in this stage due to how fragile the tissues will remain. This stage lasts from 72 hours up to 6 weeks.
Then, you have the chronic stage. The inflammation has left at this point. The wound shrinks and pain largely reduces, too. In the first 10 weeks of this stage, it is important to do strengthening exercises to train the new tissues properly. This can help model scar tissue, strengthen new muscles and improve mobility.