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Back Pain - Dealing with Back Pain

Sometimes the pain can make you miserable but you should still take control of the pain.

In the early stages:

  • Avoid bed rest (prolonged bed rest is harmful).
  • Stay active (including work). Your back is designed for movement so the sooner you start doing your ordinary activities the better.
  • Use prescribed pain killers preferably taken at regular intervals (Paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
  • Heat or cold applied to the sore area may help.
  • Seek help from a qualified professional (osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor).
  • A short course of manipulation/ acupuncture can help relieve back pain for some.
  • A structured exercise programme tailored to your needs (to include aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, postural control and stretches) may help relieve pain.
  • Stay at work - or early return to work, with modifications if needed.

Next stages

  • Steadily increase your level of activity.
  • Do a little bit more each day if the pain has been restricting your movement.
  • Do not stay in one position for too long
  • Get up and stretch regularly.
  • Move about and take some walks, building up your activity as you get stronger.
  • Stay at work if you can to keep active and recover from the pain. If you have a lot of lifting or other risk factors in your job, talk to your employer and tell them about tasks that will be difficult to begin with.
  • Even if the pain is particularly severe you can still try to do most daily activities or hobbies.

A summary of good advice can be found in guidance booklets like The Back Book and BackCare website.

NHS Choices

Safe lifting tips

How to sit correctly

Preventing back pain


Is the online 'front door' to the NHS. It is the UK's biggest health website and gives all the information you need to make choices about your health.

Learning and following the correct method for lifting and handling heavy loads can help to prevent injury. Check out these safe lifting and handling tips.

If you work in an office and use a computer, you can avoid injury by sitting in the right position and arranging your desk correctly. Follow these tips.

The best ways to deal with pain and help your back to recover are to maintain your mobility and return to work as soon as possible.


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