Most people will have low back pain at some time in their lives, and the vast majority will recover with little or no treatment within six weeks. Usually arising from the discs, joints of the spine, muscles or ligaments, the pain is described as ‘mechanical’. This type of pain is commonest between the ages of 20 and 50. Pain spreading to the foot or toes is sciatica and merits seeing your doctor if not resolving in a few days. Current advice is to keep going and continue normal daily activities including work, as rest may actually prolong back pain. Use simple pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
You should seek medical attention if any of the following occur:
- The pain lasts more than 6 weeks
- Weakness of legs
- Numbness in the groin or buttocks
- Loss of control of bladder or bowels
- Aching pain at night disturbing sleep
- You have fever, sweating or chills