Acute Back Pain

Acute back pain is normally a self limiting condition which can be caused by a minor injury or occur due to no obvious cause.

The majority of acute back pain episodes settle within a few days but some can last up to 12 weeks.

In the initial phase take simple, over the counter pain relief (if not contraindicated – always check with your pharmacist) have a brief period of rest (1 -2 days) but then try and regain spinal movement by undertaking gentle spinal stretching exercises (see below) as the pain allows.

The analgesia (pain relief) can help to enable you to perform spinal stretching exercises. Avoid activities that worsen your pain. Be particularly careful about lifting.

If the acute back pain episode has not settled in the first 2-4 weeks or the pain is not helped by simple analgesia advice should by sort from your GP to assess the cause of the pain and exclude serious pathology.

The GP may prescribe stronger analgesia and direct you to a suitable therapy service or they may refer you to a spinal specialist for further investigation and treatment.