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Helping the people of Leicester to have long and healthy lives.

Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group

Back pain

Many of us will suffer with back pain at some point. Mostly it gets better by itself, without the need for medical intervention.

Although it can be painful it is very rarely due to a serious cause.

A scan is not needed to treat back pain.

Back pain is often caused by a sprain or strain, and can be because you are tired, stressed or ‘run down’.

How to treat back pain

  • Most back pain recovers within a few weeks.
  • The back is strong and resilient and is designed to move and be used.
  • It is ok for you to take things a little easier in the first few days after an onset of back pain, but gradually getting yourself moving again in a relaxed way and doing normal activities will speed up your recovery.
  • It is normal to experience some pain as you recover. Remember, hurt rarely means harm or damage.
  • If you are in pain, you may find it helpful to take paracetamol together with anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, for the first few days.
  • A scan is not needed to be able to effectively treat back pain.
  • Stay at work or return to work as soon as possible.
  • Regular exercise, good sleep and reducing stress will all help to decrease your risk of ongoing pain. It will help to keep you and your back healthy.
  • Smoking and being overweight are linked to back pain. So getting advice from a healthcare professional on eating a healthy diet and quitting smoking can be very helpful for pain and your general health.

When to seek medical advice

Do see your doctor if you still have pain after 4 to 6 weeks, or if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty passing or controlling urine or loss of bowel control.
  • Numbness or pins and needles around your back passage and/or genitals.
  • Impaired sexual function, such as loss of sensation during intercourse.
  • A change in your normal walking pattern, such as unexplained weakness of your legs.

Feeling unwell with your back pain, such as a fever or heavy sweating that wakes you from sleep.

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