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Back pain is very common, affecting most people at some time in their lives. There are many causes for back pain including posture, pregnancy, weight and trauma.

Further information is available at NHS Choices.

Types of back pain

Non-specific/mechanical back pain – often with no specific cause or pain within the soft tissues surrounding the spine
  • This type of pain tends to get better or worse depending on your position.
  • Typically worse when moving – but you need to keep moving otherwise this can make the situation worse.
  • Can develop suddenly or gradually.
  • Can be caused by lifting something awkwardly, poor posture and sometimes with no obvious cause.
  • Symptoms will usually start to improve after a few weeks.

    Further information is available at NHS Choices.
Slipped Disc – a disc of cartilage in the spine which is pressing on a nerve
Sciatica – an irritation of the nerve that runs from the lower back to the feet
Whiplash – caused by a sudden impact such as a car accident
Frozen shoulder – pain and stiffness in the shoulder
  • Typically you will experience shoulder pain over the first two to nine months then develop increased stiffness within the joint.
  • Symptoms usually get worse over a period of months.
  • There may improvement in symptoms but this can several years.

    Further information is available at NHS Choices.
Ankylosing Spondylitis  - a long term condition which causes inflammation in the spine as well as other areas of the body
  • Symptoms usually involves back pain and stiffness.
  • People can also experience extreme tiredness as well as pain and swelling in other parts of the body.
  • Symptoms tend to develop gradually and may come and go over time.
  • Some find their symptoms improve with time but others may notice a general decline

    Further information is available at NHS Choices.

Treatments for Back Pain

Wherever possible you should do the following:

  • remain as active as possible – this will help to speed up your recovery
  • use hot and cold compresses applied to the area of pain
  • use over the counter pain relief to help ease your symptoms.

Your Pharmacist can provide information on over-the-counter pain relief.

Comment from a GP/Clinical Practitioner

Key points

  • If your back pain is still present, but improving, you often don’t need to see a doctor.
  • There are many causes of back pain, sometimes with the cause being unknown.
  • Using pain relief correctly makes living with back pain easier.


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