Back pain is quite common and can have many causes, whether it be an accident, as a result of a medical condition, or for an unknown reason (referred to as non-specific back pain). Any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs of the back is termed a ‘musculoskeletal disorder’.
Preventing back pain
Sometimes back pain cannot be avoided however the following steps can help prevent symptoms occurring:
- Exercise regularly, such as walking, core strengthening, and stretching
- Eat well and maintain a healthy weight
- Make sure the mattress on your bed provides good support and replace it when needed
- Take breaks to avoid sitting for long periods, and try to maintain good posture
- Follow guidance when lifting or handling objects
If you are required to move objects as part of your job (referred to as manual handling) your employer has a duty to manage the risk of injury. They must take steps to avoid hazardous manual handling, assess, and reduce risk, such as by providing mechanical assistance where appropriate, and providing appropriate training and guidance.
Relieving back pain
- Stay active – resting for long periods may actually worsen the pain
- Exercise – try walking, swimming and stretching. Light exercises such as yoga and pilates can also be helpful.
- Take medication – ibruprofen is a painkiller which works to reduce inflammation and relieve pain (always check the medicine is safe for you to take first and ask a pharmacist if you're not sure).
- Use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief
- Stay positive – this can actually help you recover more quickly. As hard as it may seem try to remember that your pain should improve in time.
If your back pain doesn’t start to improve within a few weeks, the symptoms worsens, or it is stopping you from carrying out day to day activities, it is important to seek medical advice by making an appointment with your GP.
Your GP will examine you and ask about your symptoms before discussing possible treatments. He may recommend a referral to a specialist to provide the following:
- Physiotherapy (most common)
- Chiropractic treatment
- Psychological support such as cognitive behavioural therapy (if you are struggling to cope)
If you wish to seek specialist treatment without visiting your GP (perhaps to avoid long waiting lists) it is possible to arrange to see a therapist on a private basis. If you are injured as a result of an accident which was not your fault, such as a car accident or injury at work, you can usually claim the cost of such treatment as part of your claim. Your solicitor will be able to advise you further.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of an accident please do not hesitate to contact our personal injury specialists on 0175 321 6399 who will be more than happy to assist you and represent you in your case.
By Katie Plappert, litigation executive in the personal injury department