Back pain is a very common issue and usually improves within a few weeks or months.
Pain in the lower back, otherwise known as lumbago, is particularly common.
Although lumbago affects the lower back, it can be felt anywhere along the spine, from the neck down to the hips.
In most cases, lumbago is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.
However, the NHS recommends seeing your GP or a physiotherapist if back pain doesn’t start to improve within a few weeks, or if pain is very severe.
In addition, if back pain gets worse over time and gets in the way of completing day-to-day activities, it’s also advisable to see a doctor.
“You can see your GP, who will ask about your symptoms, examine your back, and discuss possible treatments,” said the NHS.
“They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.”
It’s not always possible to identify the cause of back pain, in which case it is referred to as ‘non-specific’ back pain.
Sometimes, pain in the back may be caused by an injury, such as a strain or sprain, but often occurs for no apparent reason.
“It’s very rarely caused by anything serious,” said the NHS.
Occasionally, back pain can be due to a medical condition, such as a slipped disc or sciatica.
A slipped disc happens when a disc of cartilage in the spine presses on a nearby nerve.
Sciatica is irritation of the nerve that runs from the pelvis to the feet.
These conditions can also cause additional symptoms such as numbness, weakness or a tingling sensation.
In rare cases, back pain could be a sign of something more serious if it comes with certain other symptoms.
These symptoms can include numbness or tingling around the genitals or buttocks, difficulty peeing, loss of bladder or bowel control, chest pain, fever, unexplained weight loss, and a swelling or deformity in the back.
If these symptoms are experienced alongside back pain, the NHS advises contacting your GP immediately.
In addition, if back pain doesn’t improve after resting or is worse at night, or if it started after a serious accident, such as a car accident, it is also advised to see a doctor straight away.
“These problems could be a sign of something more serious and need to be checked urgently,” said the NHS.