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Back pain is very common and normally improves within a few weeks or months. Pain in the lower back is particularly common, although it can be felt anywhere along the spine – from the neck down to the hips.
In most cases the pain isn’t caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time. There are things you can do to help relieve it. But sometimes the pain can last a long time or keep coming back.
Often it’s not possible to identify the cause of back pain. Doctors call this “non-specific” back pain, and sometimes the pain may be a result of an injury such as a sprain or strain, but often it occurs for no apparent reason. It’s very rarely caused by anything serious.
You are not alone, low back pain affects 8 out of 10 people in the UK at some time in their life. Below are some tips to help you manage your condition.
It’s difficult to prevent back pain, but the following tips may help reduce your risk:
The following tips may help reduce your backache and speed up your recovery:
Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise your pain should get better, people who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.
But it’s a good idea to get help if:
You can see your GP, who will ask about your symptoms, examine your back, and discuss possible treatments. They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.
Alternatively, you may want to consider approaching a physiotherapist directly. Some NHS physiotherapists accept appointments without a doctor’s referral, or you could choose to pay for private treatment.
You should contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately if you have back pain and: