Back issues are very common and can be created by staying in one position too long or lifting something awkwardly.

Most back problems begin for no obvious reason, which can be very frustrating. The spine is strong and back issues are rarely due to any serious disease or damage.


The back problem may cause hot, burning, shooting, or stabbing pains in your back and sometimes into one or both of your legs. You may also get pins and needles. These can be because of nerve pain.

You will not normally require an X-ray or an MRI scan.

Most back problems settle within 6 weeks

Keeping active

Keeping active is a vital part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.

Being physically active throughout your recovery can:

  • stop a recurrence of the problem
  • maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
  • make sure your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
  • avoid weight gain

Resting or moving

After a back injury you should:

  • continue moving, even if you move slowly at first
  • do whatever you ordinarily would and stay at, or return to work – this is vital and is the best way to get better
  • change positions regularly wherever you are – try to find a position that lowers any pains you may have in your back and/or leg(s)
  • try to stay active, but remember not to carry out activities which aggravate any pain you may have in your back and/or leg(s) – exercising really assist your back and can relieve pain

Try not to sit down or rest for too long. Resting in bed does not help back pain.

What about sports?

You should take your time before participating in any sports after a back problem.

If you participate in sports too soon you could be injured again. You should only take part in sports when you can move freely. Be ready, however, for slight discomfort at first.

Remember to stretch and warm up fully before sports.

Can my back issues cause trouble anywhere else?

Your back problem might cause hot, burning, shooting, or stabbing pains into one or both of your legs (sometimes called sciatica). You may also get pins and needles – this can be because of nerve pain.

If you have these for more than a week, you may be able to take other, more appropriate medication. You should speak to your doctor about this.

Do I have to see my doctor?

You don’t normally require to see your care giver if you follow the right advice and take the right medication.

Your back troubles should improve over the next 6 weeks.

If you experience any of the following, look for help as soon as possible:

  • Difficulty in passing or controlling urine
  • Numbness or altered feeling around your back passage or genitals – such as wiping after toilet
  • Pins and needles around your back passage or genitals- such as wiping after toilet

If you notice any of the following, you should speak to your care giver as soon as possible:

  • Generally feeling unwell
  • Back pain that begins when you are ill with other problems – such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer
  • Numbness, pins and needles, or weakness in one or both legs that has not improved after a week
  • Unsteadiness when you walk
  • Your back problem has not improved within 6 weeks

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