Around 80% of people in the UK suffer from back pain at some point – a common problem that can affect your everyday life.
Back pain can be triggered by bad posture while sitting or standing, bending awkwardly or lifting incorrectly. Or it may be the result of an accident. It’s not generally caused by a serious condition.
In most cases, back pain improves in a few weeks or months with the right treatment or gentle exercise, although some people experience long-term pain or pain that keeps coming back.
Around 85% of back pain doesn’t have an obvious cause. Doctors call this ‘nonspecific’.
How to manage back pain
Initially back pain can be treated with a variety of over-the-counter painkillers and home treatments. Most people tend to see a big improvement in their symptoms within six weeks by using the following self-care techniques:
Keep moving – people who are active recover more quickly. Try to move around as soon as you can when pain starts and build movement every day.
Painkillers – speak to your pharmacy about the best type of pain relief for you.
Staying at work – try to remain at work or get back to work as soon as possible.
Relax and stay positive – muscle tension caused by worrying can make pain worse and research shows staying positive can help you recover quicker.
Change your sleeping / standing / sitting position – changing your posture or using support pillows can help improve back pain.
Exercise – gentle regular exercise such as walking, swimming or yoga can all help strengthen back muscles and can prevent back pain.
Reduce stress and tension – if you are worrying about something or feeling unable to cope, for more information on how to get help click here.
When should you seek urgent help?
These are very rare symptoms but you should see your GP immediately or call NHS 111 for advice if you have any of the following along with your back pain:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- a loss of bowel control numbness around your back passage or genitals
- numbness, pins and needles or weakness in both legs
- recent unsteadiness on your feet
Witham Pharmacy First
In Witham, a pilot scheme is running where GPs and pharmacists are working together to treat lower back pain. If you live in the Witham locality, please visit your local pharmacy first for fast access to advice and further help.
- Boots Newland Street - 42 Newland Street, Witham, CM8 2AR
- Boots Spa Road - 4 Spa Road, Witham, Essex, CM8 1NE
- Bornos Pharmacy - 124 Newland Street, Witham, CM8 1BA
- AFM Pharmacy - 52-54 Dorothy Sayers Dve, Witham, CM8 2LX