Low Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is very common condition usually caused by a simple muscular strain. It effects 4 out of 5 of people at some point in the life. Fortunately, lower back pain generally improves within a few weeks, but it can last longer and can sometimes lead to recurrent flare ups. It is best to try and keep active and continue with you everyday activities. But there are things you can do to help self-manage and ease discomfort.

What causes back pain?

Back pain can have many causes, it is not always clear what is causing it, but it is common for it to get better on his own. Generally it is linked with poor posture, lack of physical activity and muscular strains and sprains.

The most common cause for lower back pain is mechanical non-specific back pain. This means that soreness or discomfort in your lower back is not due to any specific or underlying condition. It includes muscular strains or disc and facet joint issues.

However other causes include specific back pain, these are rarer, and it is where you pain is caused by a certain underlying condition, this can include conditions such as infection, tumour, osteoporosis, fractures, inflammatory disorder or cauda equina syndrome.


Back pain often improves on its own within a couple of weeks, but here are some useful things you can do at home to help manage your pain and improve your recovery.

Things to do!

  • Stay active and try to continue with your daily activities.
  • take over the counter medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (check with a pharmacist).
  • use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel to reduce pain and swelling.
  • use a heat pack (or hot water bottle) wrapped in a tea towel to relieve joint stiffness or muscle spasms.
  • try doing some exercises and stretches for back. Activities like walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates may also help ease back pain. It is important to choose activities you enjoy because you are more likely to continue doing them.
  • Think about your posture. Try to maintain a good posture when sitting at home, at work or when in the care. Staying in a poor posture for prolonged periods will increase you risk of lower back pain and your recovery time.
  • Practice good lifting techniques when carrying items. Bend you knees and allow your spine to move as required without twisting it.

Things to Avoid!

  • Staying in bed for long periods of time. Too much rest can lead to stiffness in your muscles and joint. Our bodies are built to move and need regular physical activity and movement to stay fit and healthy. Research shows that staying in bed even only for 2-3 days can make things worse in the long term.
  • Being inactive for prolonged periods.
  • Completing exercises that cause your pain to get worse. See a GP or physiotherapist for advice.

What to do if your back pain does not improve

Seek advice and help from your GP if:

  1. Your back pain does not improve after a few weeks.
  2. You are prevented from doing your day-to-day activities.
  3. Your pain is worsening, or you are worried, concerned or unable to cope.

However, you will need to seek more urgent advice from an urgent GP appointment or from NHS 111 if:

You have back pain and:

  1. You have a high temperature
  2. Unexplained weight loss
  3. There’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape.
  4. Pain does not improve with resting or is worse a night.
  5. The pain worsens when sneezing, coughing, or opening your bowels.

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

You must seek immediate medical attention either by calling 999 or going to A&E if:

You have back pain and:

  1. pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in both legs.
  2. numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks.
  3. difficulty urinating
  4. loss of bladder or bowel control
  5. chest pain
  6. it begun after a serious accident or trauma.

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No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport, work accident or otherwise, we welcome the chance to serve you.

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