I suppose if this were true, chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, and other professionals that deal with the back wouldn’t have many patients to treat. I’ve heard highly respected doctors repeat this myth that back will go away on its own in six weeks, but the reality of the situation is the exact opposite. Most back pain will not go away on its own. In fact, most likely it will not go away on its own, and if it does, it’s going to come back, possibly worse.

This perspective of back pain going away in six weeks was started from a study in the 1990’s that surveyed medical doctors and how long it took their patients to get over acute back pain. The problem was the design in the study, and therefore inaccurate data, which led to flawed conclusions. Back pain is very prevalent, with lifetime prevalence in a community estimated to be between 50 – 85% (1).

If back pain went away in 6 weeks, then why is it the second most frequent cause of worker absenteeism, and the most costly ailment of working age adults in the United States? It is also the 3rd most commonly reported symptom. Don’t make the mistake that back pain will go away on its own. It perhaps might, but most likely it will come back, as the best predictor of future back pain is past back pain. The next episode may be worse, and will probably last longer.

As a Denver chiropractor, who treats back pain every day, it is much more difficult to fix a person’s back when they have had the problem for a long time. Back pain could be the sign of something much more serious, so getting it evaluated is the best and smartest action you could take. Suni (2) found that recurrence rates are high, ranging from 60-86% in the first year. Early intervention is key to help prevent chronic low back pain.

A study by Hestbaek (3), reviewed 36 longitudinal studies and found no evidence to support the claim that 80-90% of low back pain patients would be pain free in a month.

There are studies after studies that are recent that show that low back pain just does not go away in 4-6 weeks. I have seen first hand that most cases of back pain are recurrent, and most likely to come back much worse. If you are having back pain in Denver, I would love to help make you feel better. Please call for a consult or appointment.

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211


  1. Papageorgiou AC, Croft PR, Ferry S, et al. Estimating the prevalence of low back pain in the general population: Evidence from theSouth Manchesterback pain survey. Spine 1995;20:1889-1884.
  2. Suni J, PT, PhD, Rinne M, PT, MSci, Natri A, MD, DScik et al. Control of the lumbar neutral zone decreases low back pain and improves self-evaluated work ability: a 12 month randomized controlled study. Spine 2006;31:E611-20.
  3. Hestbaek L. et al. Low Back Pain: What is the long term course? A review of studies of general population. Euro Spine Journal, 2003; 12: 149-65.

Author: Dr. Trent Artichoker