The most common type of back pain is lower back pain, otherwise known as lumbago. Usually, back pain gets better in a few days, weeks or months, depending on the severity and what has caused it. It’s not often necessary to see a GP regarding back pain, but if the condition gets worse, is extremely severe and doesn’t appear to get better, it may be wise to seek medical help. Otherwise, there a few things you can do at home to treat and help improve back pain.
Although a painful back may encourage you to stay in bed or on the sofa, keeping still may actually make the problem worse.
Keeping active will help to ease stiffness and improve flexibility, so try to continue your daily activities as you would normally.
Try to avoid sitting for long periods, but remember to take care when lifting or twisting your back, warns Bupa.
Exercise and stretch the back muscles
Similarly, exercising and stretching the back will strengthen the muscles, increase flexibility and improve stability.
Be gentle and don’t overdo it, and you should see an improvement in a few days or weeks. If exercise increases pain, stop and see a GP.
Take pain relief medication
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, can help relieve back pain.
If over-the-counter medicines don’t help, a doctor may prescribe a higher dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
Both over-the-counter and prescribed medicines should only be taken for a short period, and are not suitable for long-term back pain.
Use hot or cold packs
Hot or cold packs can provide relief to back pain, when applied directly to the affected area.
Make sure you use specific packs, or wrap frozen vegetables in a towel. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin.
“Back pain is very common, with around one in three of us getting it every year. It’s usually the lower back that’s affected,” said Bupa.
“Lower back pain doesn’t normally have a serious cause and in most cases the pain will improve within four to six weeks.”