Back pain is very common and normally improves within 6-12 weeks
Pain in the lower back is particularly common and most of the time does not mean you have damaged your back. Pain can be felt anywhere along the spine, from the neck down to the hips and in some cases into the leg (sciatica). There is often no specific cause or trigger to the back pain. Some people will describe doing something to cause their symptoms but for most people the symptoms will come on out of the blue.
You are the best person to help your back get better.
If it is a new or recent problem you often don’t need to seek any medical advice. X-rays/scans or treatment are not usually needed and most people just need to keep moving and the pain will improve in time. The pain is usually related to irritation of soft tissues in your lower back. There are many soft tissues in your lower back so establishing which one is causing the problem is usually not possible or beneficial to recovery.
Most back pain starts to fade in 2 weeks and settles within 6 weeks
Symptoms to check
Click the plus sign to see a list of problems that could be a sign you may need to be checked urgently
When to get immediate medical advice
You should contact a GP or NHS 111 immediately if you have back pain and:
- numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks/inner thighs
- loss of bladder or bowel control or difficulty urinating, leaking of urine or bowel movements.
- Changes in sexual function, including loss of sensation during intercourse, inability to achieve an erection or ejaculate
- sudden, significant weakness in your arms or legs
- lack of coordination or heaviness to your arms and legs that is affecting your walking
- severe arm pain with accompanying tingling or numbness
- chest pain
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- a swelling or a deformity in your back
- it does not improve with or at rest or is worse at night
- it started after a serious accident, such as after a car accident
These problems could be a sign of something more serious and need to be checked urgently.