Back pain is common. Most people will experience back or neck pain at some time in their life.

80% of the population will experience an episode of pain of sufficient severity to prevent them from performing their normal work or social activities.

Symptoms of back and neck pain will usually settle, or at least improve significantly, within seven to ten days. In 90% of cases pain will resolve within four weeks.

About half of those who suffer back pain may experience another episode within two years but this still does not mean there is a serious cause of these symptoms.

People are encouraged to stay active and get on with their lives despite their discomfort. This will often require you to modify the way certain activities are performed.

If back pain is not settling as described or if you have any serious past medical conditions then you should seek medical advice from your General Practitioner.

Sometimes back pain can be a herald of a serious underlying condition and for that reason it is important to take the following advice:


 See your General Practitioner if:

  • The pain is so severe that it wakes you from sleep and does not allow you to get back to sleep
  • Patients over age 50 with back pain for the first time in your life.
  • Back pain is associated with night sweats or fever
  • Any symptoms of numbness or pins and needles in the area between a patient’s legs or around the back passage should seek emergency medical advice through their GP or A&E. These symptoms can be caused by a condition caused Cauda Equina which can require emergency surgery
  • Any symptoms of incontinence of faeces or an inability to pass urine should likewise seek emergency medical advice to exclude cauda equina syndrome.
  • Sciatica (leg pains) suddenly change to involve both legs
  • Severe back or neck pain after a fall or accident should always be assessed by GP or A&E.