back pain


(1) Avoid bed rest for a long period.
In the few days of a new episode of back pain, avoiding aggravating activities may help to relieve pain. However, staying as active as possible is important in aiding recovery.

(2) Exercise and activity to prevent back pain.
Exercise helps tackle back pain and is also the most effective strategy to prevent future episodes of back pain. No one type of exercise is proven to be more effective than others, so just pick an exercise you enjoy and that you can afford to maintain in the long-term and that fits in with your daily schedule.

(3) Painkillers.
They should only be used in conjunction with other measures such as exercises. Painkillers should be a short-term option as they can bring side effects after long term use.

(4) Surgery is rarely needed.
Most back pains do not require surgery however, in some uncommon back conditions where there is pressure on the nerves that supply the legs and there is incontinence, surgery may be recommended.

(5) You can have back pain without injury.
Many psychological factors, general health lifestyle factors and social factors may cause back pain. At times a combination of these factors may also cause back pain.

  • Psychological factors including fear of not getting better, feeling down and being stressed.
  • General health lifestyle factors like being tired, not getting enough good sleep, not getting enough physical activity.
  • Social factors such as difficult relationships at work or home, low job satisfaction or stressful life events.

(6) If your back pain does not clear up after 6 – 8 weeks make an appointment to see your doctor or a physiotherapist.

back pain


Some back problems start for no obvious reason and this can be very frustrating. Back problems are rarely due to any serious disease or damage. Back problems can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • muscle spasms
  • pins and needles due to nerve irritation
  • ¬†stiffness
  • hot, burning, shooting or stabbing pains in your back and sometimes into one or both of your legs

In many cases, new or flare-up of long-standing back problems should begin to settle within few weeks without the need to see a healthcare professional. For most back pain problems, you’ll not normally need an X-ray or MRI scan. However, speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you:

  • feel unsteady when you walk
  • have back pain that starts when you’re ill with other problems – such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer
  • feel generally unwell


Although most back problems start for no obvious reason, back pain can be caused by:

back pain


Back pain usually gets better on its own within few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional. However, its a good idea to get help if:

  • the pain does not start to improve within few weeks
  • the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
  • the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
  • you’re worried about the pain or are struggling to cope
  • you have taken over the counter medication and there has been no improvement

When you see a doctor, he or she will take a detailed history and ask about your symptoms, examine you back and discussed possible treatments.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist or physiotherapist for further help. You may want to consider approaching a physiotherapist directly or you could choose to pay for private treatment.