Most cases of back or neck pain resolve within 2 to 6 weeks and are considered acute pain. The most common cause of acute back or neck pain is a muscle injury, in which muscle fibers are overstretched. Muscle injury may be caused by overuse, such as from heavy lifting, as well as by repetitive motions that put continual stress on the back or neck muscles.
While a muscle injury may not sound like a serious issue, the resulting pain can be severe. Most muscle injuries resolve within 6 weeks using treatments such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, heat or ice therapy, or stretching exercises.
Changes in the spine’s anatomy and mechanics are usually the cause of chronic low back pain.