Most back problems are not due to any serious injury or disease. Rather they are the result of bending, twisting, lifting and other mechanical actions we put our backs through on a daily basis. Poor posture, lack of physical activity or incorrect lifting can make you prone to back problems.
If your back pain is not improving, other possible causes include:
Back pain can start suddenly after reaching or twisting or come on slowly over a few days or weeks.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for time off work, but staying at work has been shown to improve recovery, although you may need to modify some tasks.
When you have back pain, avoid bed rest. This does not help and can make symptoms worse. Keep as active as you can whilst avoiding any heavy lifting or twisting movements because keeping active will:(2)
You should see your doctor if you have back pain which is not getting better after a few weeks of trying simple exercises and following the tips for a healthy back below.
Although rare, back pain can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience any of the following 'red flag' symptoms with your back pain then please see a doctor urgently:
One of the most common treatments for back pain is physiotherapy. Physiotherapists are able to:
If your back is uncomfortable, regular pain relief such as paracetamol can help. However, if you have severe pain or any of the red flags listed above, see your doctor straight away.
What we do day to day is very important to help keep our backs strong and supple. Three tips for healthy backs:
If you have recurring back pain, the following may help:
Check with your physiotherapist or health provider what preventive exercises and stretches are best for you.
Back pain Ministry of Health (NZ)
How physio can help back pain Physiotherapy New Zealand
Back pain – range of resources Medline Plus (US)
Source: Health Navigator