Backpain Relief

Backpain Relief


Backpain relief should be a multi discipline process. Your pharmacist is qualified to advise on suitable non-prescription medicines and you may want to make him your first port of call. Over the counter drugs which may help with backache relief or swelling include aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), ketoprofen (Orudis), and ibuprofen (Motrin).

Call your family doctor if:

Many people with back pain never need to see their doctor, or even seek backpain relief. On the other hand, you should feel able to call or visit your GP if you're worried about your back or feel unable to cope with the pain.

As a general rule people seeking relief from backpain are advised to contact their doctor if the pain is no better after about a week.

You should certainly see your GP as soon as possible, and seek backpain relief if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Pain goes down your leg below your knee.

  • Your leg, foot, groin or rectal area feels numb.

  • You have fever, nausea or vomiting, stomach ache, weakness or sweating.

  • You lose control over going to the toilet.

  • Your pain was caused by an injury.

  • Your pain is so intense you can't move around.

  • Your pain doesn't seem to be getting better after 2 to 3 weeks.

What Doctors can do

There's no quick fix for most back pain and your doctor is unlikely to be able to 'cure' you. But they will certainly be able to provide backpain relief and be able to:

Give you a physical examination and discuss your back pain. You may find it easier to remember what to tell the doctor if you print and fill out our personal back plan. Here are some probable questions your GP will ask; think them through to make the most of your medical examination:

(1) When did your back pain start?

(2) What were you doing when it started?

(3) Have you had any back problems in the past?

(4) Where is your pain?

(5) What sort of pain is it? Dull? Piercing? Shooting?

(6) Does it stay in the same place?

(7) What makes the pain better, or worse?

(8) Do you have any other symptoms, in your back or elsewhere?

(9) What does your back pain stop you doing?

(10) What have you been doing which might have contributed to giving yourself a bad back?

(11) What can you do in the future to try and keep your back healthy in the long term?

If you're not happy with your doctor's diagnosis or if your symptoms keep coming back, do go back to your GP, or ask another health expert for their opinion. Always ask for an explanation and ask for clarification of any words you don't understand. We have a glossary of technical words HERE which may be helpful.

Backpain relief for ongoing back ache

Treatment of ongoing back problems must be directed at the cause to successfully give you backpain relief. This may mean losing weight (because being overweight can make back pain worse), getting your muscles in better shape, and improving your posture when you're sitting, standing and sleeping.

Tips for preventing back strain and for backpain relief

  • Don't lift by bending over.
  • Lift an object by bending your hips and knees and then squatting to pick up the object. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Avoid twisting your body while lifting.
  • Push rather than pull when you must move heavy objects.
  • If you must sit at your desk or at the wheel of a car or truck for long hours, break up the time with stops to stretch. See the Backpain and driving chapter
  • Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels (1 inch or lower).
  • Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle contributes to lower back pain.

Always sit correctly for backpain relief

Animated instructional graphic

Sit in chairs with straight backs or low-back support. Keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Adjust the seat or use a low stool to prop your feet on. Turn by moving your whole body rather than by twisting at your waist.

When driving, sit straight and move the seat forward. This helps you not lean forward to reach the controls. You may want to put a small pillow or rolled towel behind your lower back if you must drive or sit for a long time.

What's the best position for standing?

If you must stand for long periods, rest one foot on a low stool to relieve pressure on your lower back. Every 5 to 15 minutes, switch the foot you're resting on the stool. Maintain good posture: Keep your ears, shoulders and hips in a straight line, with your head up and your stomach pulled in.

What's the best position for sleeping?

The best way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent. You may put a pillow under your head to support your neck. You may also put a pillow between your knees.

If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back. Don't sleep on your stomach unless you put a pillow under your hips.

Use a firm mattress. If your mattress is too soft, use a board of 1/2-inch plywood under the mattress to add support. For long term relief consider a wooden slatted bed with a firm Dunlopillo foam rubber matress.

Backpain relief - advice for workers

There are many back pain remedies available today including both medicinal and more natural treatments.

Here is a list of simple do's and don'ts that will help you deal with back pain and let you get on with your life.


Do stay as active as usual, if possible. But see your doctor if you are worried about the backpain or if the pain persists or suddenly gets worse.

  • Do take simple pain relief to help with the pain.
  • Do speak to your employer or your workers' representative, your safety representative or a trades union safety representative who can relay your issues to your employer and if necessary, discuss what can be done to help you stay at work.
  • Do find out about back pain. A summary of good advice can be found in guidance booklets like The Back Book.


  • Don't take to your bed and wait for the pain to go away. The sooner you get back to normal activity the sooner your recovery starts.
  • Don't worry. Back pain is rarely serious and unnecessary worry delays recovery.
  • Don't avoid activity simply as a way of avoiding the pain - hurt does not always mean harm.

Other people who can help with backpain relief

If your back problem doesn't clear up quickly, your family doctor may refer you to another health practitioner. This is most likely to be a physiotherapist or another doctor, and may involve a visit to the hospital for examinations, tests and treatment.

Even if your doctor doesn't refer you to anyone else, you can always visit another health practitioner privately. Some people go straight to a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor as soon as back pain starts. This can be expensive - private sessions can cost upwards of £30, and the practitioner you see may well recommend a course of treatment over several weeks. So, it's a good idea to check with your doctor whether you can see someone free on the NHS before making decisions about who to see privately. Some doctors can refer you to an osteopath or acupuncturist if you need their help.

If you do decide to see a practitioner privately, personal recommendation is a good starting point. But remember that your back problem is unique - just because a specialist helped your friend doesn't mean they'll be able to do the same for you.

Exercise is good for your back:

  • When abdominal and back muscles are toned, they work together like a natural corset for your back, providing support and improving posture
  • Fit muscles have better fine control and more power in reserve, giving smoother motion during lifting and moving.
  • Fitness postpones fatigue, helping you avoid tired habits like not lifting correctly.
  • Exercise makes bones denser and stronger.
  • With stretching, exercise increases flexibility, helps you use good postures for lifting and sitting
  • Helps you lose weight and stop smoking! Excess body weight and smoking are bad for backs.
  • Exercise improves blood circulation, and so enhances nutrition and recovery processes in your back

Don't enjoy/Can't find the time to exercise?

The ultimate in backpain relief is to do yourself a favour - buy a dog! Regular walks, they don't have to be for too long, will improve your general health, You will feel better and you will live longer - Fact!

If you don't already own an animal, consider if your lifestyle would allow you to. Having to care for a dog will not only encourage regular exercise, it will also act as a wonderful stress reliever and stress is one of the least understood causes of backpain.


Click here to learn how to cure backpain

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Our natural heating pads can help to relax painful muscle spasms. Use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Some injuries respond better to cold packs and our pads can also be used in this way. Simply put pad in plastic bag and pop in the freezer for a while before use. In some cases, massages may also give relief, particularly where stress is the cause.

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