Back pain is very common and normally improves within a few weeks or months.
Pain in the lower back (lumbago) 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.
How to relieve back pain
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, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
- take anti-inflammatory pain killers, 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 and a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth will work just as well
- Click here to learn about ‘back pain myths’
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.
More information about back pain
Living with Pain
Should you wish to speak to your GP first, simply make an appointment with your local practice. If your GP refers you, one of our patient care advisers will contact you within 48 hours to arrange an appointment.