Find Out More About The Causes Of Back Pain
Back pain is a common problem that affects most people at some point in their life. It may be triggered by bad posture while sitting or standing, bending awkwardly, or lifting incorrectly. It’s not generally caused by a serious condition.Find out more about the causes of back pain.
In most cases back pain will improve in a few weeks or months, although some people experience long-term pain or pain that keeps coming back.
Types of back pain
Backache is most common in the lower back (lumbago), although it can be felt anywhere along your spine, from your neck down to your hips.
Read information on neck pain and shoulder pain, which are covered separately.
Sometimes back pain can be caused by an injury or disease, such as:
a slipped disc – when one of the discs in the spine is damaged and presses on the nerves
sciatica – irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which causes pain, numbness and tingling that travels down one leg
whiplash – neck injury caused by a sudden impact
frozen shoulder – inflammation around the shoulder that causes pain and stiffness
ankylosing spondylitis – a long-term condition that causes pain and stiffness where the spine meets the pelvis
Most cases of back pain get better on their own and you may not need to see a doctor.
If you’ve only had back pain for a few days or weeks, the following advice may help relieve your symptoms and speed up your recovery:
remain as active as possible and try to continue with your daily activities
take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel you need to
use hot or cold compression packs – you can buy these from your local pharmacy, or a bag of frozen vegetables and a hot water bottle will work just as well
Although it can be difficult to be cheerful or optimistic if you are in pain, it’s important to stay positive as this can help you recover faster.
Read more about treatments for short-term back pain.
Treatments for long-term back pain
If you’re worried about your back or your pain hasn’t improved by around six weeks, it’s a good idea to visit your GP, who can advise you about the treatments available.
exercise classes – where you are taught specific exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture
manual therapy – such as physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy
counselling – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
support and advice at a specialist pain clinic
Some people choose to see a therapist for manual therapy or acupuncture without seeing their GP first. If you want to do this, you will usually need to pay for private treatment, which is likely to cost around £30-50 for each appointment.
Spinal surgery is usually only recommended when all else has failed. Read More