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Back Pain Explained

Back pain is most commonly suffered within the lower back or, as it is medically referred to, the ‘lumbar’ region of the back. It can also be felt anywhere from the neck down to the hips.

At some point in your life you may suffer from backache or back pain. This is not an uncommon condition to experience and it can be triggered by various injuries. Based on NHS advice we’ve put together some information to help you deal with your symptoms.  

Causes of back pain:

Whiplash – a neck injury that is caused by the head suddenly moving forwards, backwards or sideways. Although it is uncommon whiplash can cause you to suffer from pain in your lower back.  

Slipped Disc – a spinal injury that is caused by one of the discs that sit between the vertebrae of the spine being damaged and pressing on the nerves. 

Sciatica – pain, numbness and tingling that travels down one leg which is caused by an irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. 

If you’ve suffered from back pain for only a few days you could try the following which may help relieve your symptoms before seeing a doctor:

•  Try to remain active and continue with any day-to-day tasks.

•  You could try taking over -the-counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol. Over-the-counter medications such as these can usually be found at your local pharmacy or supermarket.

•  You could try using hot or cold compression packs which can be purchased at your local pharmacy, or alternatively use a bag of frozen vegetables and a hot water bottle to help with the pain.

Not all back pain has an obvious cause and for some the pain can be debilitating in everyday life, which can be extremely frustrating. Whilst it can be hard to stay positive when you are in pain it is important to do so as it may help with your recovery.


If, in addition to your back pain, you have the following symptoms then you should seek medical help urgently:

- Unexplained weight loss.

- A fever or high temperature.

- A swelling or some sort of deformity.

- Constant pain which doesn’t subside or ease after lying down.

- Pain in your chest.

- Loss of bladder or bowel control.

- Inability to pass urine.

- Numbness around the genitals

- The pain is worse at night.

- Your back pain started after an accident such as a car accident. 


If after a few weeks your back pain hasn’t subsided it could be a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to advise you on any treatments that will be available to you.

These treatments for back pain could include:

- Stronger painkillers, only available by GP prescription.

- Therapies such as physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy.

- Acupuncture

- Support and advice from a specialist pain clinic.

If none of the treatments have worked to relieve your back pain a Specialist may recommend spinal surgery.  

If you’re entitled to treatment under your health insurance policy please see our page on How to Make Claim for more details on making a claim.



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