Low back pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint in adults so it is likely we will experience it within our lifetime. Low back pain can start after a specific event but often without any significant trigger at all. It can be related to posture and the over (or under!) use of muscles and other structures..
Some low back pain can result in leg symptoms such as pins and needles, numbness or shooting pain but the majority of people will experience pain localised to the lower back area (the lumbar spine). The pain can come from a variety of structures within the back: joints and soft tissue (e.g. muscles, ligaments) being the main culprits. Leg symptoms are typically from the lumbar spine joints referring into the legs or irritation/ impingement of the nerves supplying the legs.
Important things you need to know:
- Don’t be alarmed, the majority of low back pain will resolve within 6 weeks
- If you have symptoms that are not getting better, or severe pain / pins and needles / numbness / weakness in legs / changes in your bowel and bladder, go and see your GP
- Simple fixes can be really effective: being active is better than resting, and bed rest is not advised. Over-the-counter pain medication are helpful, as are old favourites ice and heat. Try both and see which works for you.
- The NHS website has helpful exercise videos to try when you have low back pain. Click here for the video.