Back Pain

Back pain in very common and usually improves within a few weeks or months

Pain in the lower back  (Lumbago) is particularly common. However, this can be felt throughout the legnth of the spine, from the neck down to the hips.

In most cases the pain is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.

There are things that you can do to help relieve it. But sometime the pain can last a long time or keep coming back.

Causes of back pain

It is not always possible to identify the cause of back pain. Doctors refer to this as non-specific back pain.

Sometimes the pain may be from an injury such as a sprain or strain, but often it happens for no apparent reason. It's very rarely caused by anything serious

Occasionally back pain can be caused by a medical condition such as:

  • A slipped (Prolapsed) disc - where the disc of cartilage in the spine presses on a nearby nerve
  • Sciatica - Irritation of the nerve that runs from your pelvis to your feet

These conditions usually cause additional symptoms:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling sensation

Normally sciatica or a slipped disc is treated differently to non-specific back pain.

How can I relieve back pain?

Here are some tips that may hel to reduce bak pain and speed up your recovery

  • Stay as active as possible and try to continue your day-to-day activities (Resting for long periods of time is likely to make the pain worse)
  • Activities such as walking, swimming, yoga or pilates may be helpful
  • Take anti-infammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen (always check that medicine is safe for you, if you are unsure - ask a pharmacist)
  • Use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief. These can be purchased from pharmacies. A hot water bottle or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel can work just as well.

Whilst it can be difficult, staying optomistic and try to recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay possitive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.

Back pain will usually get better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or any other healthcare professional.

But, it is a good idea to get help if:

  • The pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
  • The pain stops you doing your day-today activities
  • You're worried about the pain or struggling to cope
  • The pain is very severe or gets worse over time

What can my practice do to help?

As a Thursby Surgery we have access to a PCN (Primary Care Network) Physiotherapist, Tim. 
Tim works from multiple sites across Burnley and can see patients on a face-to-face basis.


What can the Physiotherapist deal with?

  • All soft tissue injuries, sprains, strainsor & sports inuries
  • Arthritis
  • Problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons or bones, e.g. tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrom, ankle sprains
  • Spinal problems including lower back, mid-back and neck pain
  • Spinal-related pain in arms or legs, including nerve symptoms, e.g. pins and needles or numbness

When should I speak with my GP?

  • Acutely unwell patients
  • Children under 16 years old
  • Medical management of rheumatoid conditions
  • Women's health, antenatal and postnatal problems
  • House-bound patients
  • Medication reviews for non-MSK (Musculoskeletal) conditions
  • Neurological and respiratory conditions
  • Headaches
  • Acute mental health crises