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Back pain

Back pain is very common, but its exact cause is often unclear. In most cases it's not caused by anything serious and gets better over time.

Back pain can be felt anywhere along your back. It's most common to have pain in your lower back.

You can usually treat back pain at home with gentle exercises and painkillers. See a GP if it does not get better after a few weeks.

Back pain can sometimes be caused by a problem with the joints, bones or tissues around the spine. But often there's no obvious cause.

Read more on the NHS website.

Back pain can be felt anywhere along your back. It's most common to have pain in your lower back.

Read more on the NHS website.

You can usually treat back pain at home with gentle exercises and painkillers. See a GP if it does not get better after a few weeks.

Self-care

The following tips may help reduce your backache and speed up your recovery:

  • stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities – this is one of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
  • try exercises and stretches for back pain; other activities such as walking, swimmingyoga and pilates may also be helpful
  • take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen – remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take first and ask a pharmacist if you're not sure
  • use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief – you can buy these from your local pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth will work just as well

Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better, as people who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.

Medical treatments

A GP, specialist or physiotherapist may recommend extra treatments if they do not think your pain will improve with self-help measures alone.

These may include:

  • group exercise classes – where you're taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture
  • manual therapy – treatments such as manipulating the spine and massage, usually carried out by physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths
  • psychological support, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this can be a useful part of treatment if you're struggling to cope with the pain

Some people choose to see a therapist for manual therapy without seeing a GP first. If you want to do this, you'll usually need to pay for private treatment.

Surgery is generally only considered in the small number of cases where back pain is caused by a specific medical condition.

Read more on the NHS website.

Back pain can sometimes be caused by a problem with the joints, bones or tissues around the spine. But often there's no obvious cause.

Read more on the NHS website.