Supported by: NHS

What is Back Pain

Back pain is a very common problem in the UK - with eight out of ten people suffering from it at some point during their lives.

It can affect anyone, at any age, and is usually caused by a sprain or a strain of the muscles, ligaments, joints or discs in the back. Most of us know that this can be very painful, and inconvenient, but it is not serious.

We often call back pain acute or chronic, depending on how long you have had the pain. Acute pain is shorter lived and more common. We call back pain chronic once you have had it for more than 3 months. Managing back pain well prevents people developing chronic back pain.

Most people experience back pain on one or both sides of their backs but may also feel it around their hips and buttocks and occasionally into one or both thighs. But with simple advice, most people will see a great improvement in their back pain within two weeks.

Chronic back pain can last much longer and usually requires treatment such as medication or physiotherapy.

In most cases though, your back will heal itself. It is important that you keep active and continue as normal, but if your pain is severe and persistent then you should seek medical advice for diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.