Acute Back Pain

Usually occurs suddenly due to a mechanical problem with the spine. This can be a muscle strain or a ligament sprain due to physical overuse, trauma or even sitting/bending incorrectly. These are best treated with an ice pack wrapped in a damp tea towel for 10 minutes. It is best to take a suitable pain killer from your local pharmacy or GP and rest.

Rest is to allow your body time to recover and usually maximum 48 hours. Then start to mobilise sensibly with the help of the pain killers. Things are usually fine 1-8 weeks.

Disc problems also occur suddenly when a disc prolapses (used to be called slipped disc). This can press on spinal nerves and radiate to the legs. The same advice applies but you must always seek urgent medical help if this problem affects your bladder/bowel or numbness between your legs or if the leg becomes very weak. These problems can take longer to recover, up to 12 weeks. 98% of problems will resolve with conservative management.

You may require help from your doctor / physiotherapist to get through these difficult times.

Avoid prolonged sitting or bending. We may refer you for MRI/X-ray if we feel there is an underlying problem or if you are not improving with the above management.

View helpful back exercises