Back Pain

Back pain is a very common problem that can usually be remedied. In this guide, we’ll be answering common questions we are regularly asked about back pain such as the causes along with advice and our best recommendations on how to get rid of back pain, in particular how to relieve lower back pain.

An introduction to back pain

This holistic guide from Pharmacy Prime will cover all the need-to-know information about back pain to help you better understand it and treat it. For those looking for a beginner’s introduction or for more specific advice, this guide will cover all bases. We will be covering these key areas:

  • What is back pain?
  • Back pain symptoms
  • What causes back pain?
  • What effects can back pain have?
  • How to get rid of back pain
  • Dos and don’ts and back pain treatments

What is back pain?

Back pain is the feeling of pain or discomfort in any area of the back. Back pain can occur in any area, from the top of the back (thoracic region) to the lower back (lumbar region). It can be caused for a variety of reasons, but more commonly occurs in certain demographics, such as older people, those who smoke, and those who are overweight.

Back pain symptoms

There is not just one type of back pain, and it is experienced in many different ways from person to person. You may feel back pain in the following ways:

  • Muscle aching
  • Stiffness
  • Shooting pain
  • A stabbing or burning sensation
  • Pins and needles


Additionally, back pain can:

  • Affect one spot in your back or your whole back
  • Increase when bending, lifting, or exerting yourself
  • Increase when standing, sitting, or otherwise resting
  • Come and go


When to see a doctor

Back pain often goes away within a few weeks. However, there are some instances in which back pain does not go away after this time or has a significant impact on a person’s well-being.

The NHS advises you to see a doctor if:

  • Your back pain does not improve after several weeks of home treatment
  • The pain is severe or is getting progressively worse
  • The pain is preventing you from carrying out day-to-day activities
  • You are concerned about the pain or are finding it difficult to cope


Ask for an urgent GP appointment, call 111 or get help from 111 online if you have back pain and:

  • A high temperature
  • You've lost weight without trying to
  • There's a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
  • The pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
  • The pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
  • The pain is coming from the top of your back (between your shoulders), rather than your lower back


You should immediately call 999 or go to A&E if you have back pain and:

  • Pain, tingling, weakness or numbness in both legs
  • Numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks
  • Difficulty peeing
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (peeing or pooing yourself)
  • Chest pain
  • It started after a serious accident, such as a car accident

What causes back pain?

Back pain can be caused by many different things. These are some of the most common causes:

  • Lifting, pushing, or pulling things too quickly or incorrectly
  • Poor posture
  • Repeatedly carrying out the same motion
  • A lack of exercise


There are more serious health reasons as to why back pain may be caused, such as:

  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • A slipped disc
  • Ankylosing spondylitis


These are not all the reasons why back pain could be caused, however. If you are concerned about your back pain, you should see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and advice.

What effects can back pain have?

Back pain can affect a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Back pain may affect your daily routine, making usual tasks such as sitting, walking, or sleeping more difficult. When back pain is experienced at length, it may cause you to miss work, affect your mental health, or even cause social isolation.

To help relieve back pain and manage it effectively, we have put together our best tips on how to get rid of back pain and how to relieve lower back pain in particular below.

How to get rid of back pain

With the right treatment, it is possible that back pain can be remedied. As mentioned above, back pain commonly improves by itself within a few weeks. To help improve your symptoms over this period, we’ve put together our best advice on how to get rid of back pain, focusing also on how to relieve lower back pain.

However, there are some instances in which back pain may be experienced for longer than this period. If your back pain has not improved over time and with self-care, you should contact your GP as they will be able to best advise you on your specific circumstances.

Below are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re experiencing back pain:

Dos and don’ts


  • Keep active - Making sure to keep active is a good way to help manage back pain. Exercise helps to alleviate back pain by strengthening your muscles, improving your flexibility and increasing blood flow.
  • Try stretches and exercises - There are several exercises and stretches that you can do that can help alleviate back pain. You can find some back pain exercises here.
  • Use a heat pack - Applying a heat pack to your back can help to lessen muscle spasms and stiffness.
  • Use an ice pack - Using an ice pack can help reduce swelling, pain and inflammation when placed on your back.
  • Aim to maintain a healthy body weight - Being overweight can put additional stress on the spine, so maintaining a healthy body weight can help to improve your back pain.


  • Stay in bed or lie down for long periods - Though this may seem like a good idea, being inactive in this way can increase your pain by making you stiff.
  • Exert yourself further - If you have back pain due to repetitive strain or heavy lifting, you should avoid repeating the same movements. Your body needs time to recover, so you should minimise the amount you exert yourself to prevent putting yourself in any further pain.
  • Do high-intensity exercises - Though it’s important to remain active, certain rigorous exercises could cause further pain in your back. This means that certain activities, such as weight-lifting or running, should be avoided until your back pain is gone.

Back pain treatments

Back pain can be treated with certain medications. These are useful in helping to reduce short-term back pain. However, you should first speak to a doctor or pharmacist if you intend to treat your back pain with medication in the long term.

There are several back pain relief treatments available at Pharmacy Prime to treat your back pain in various ways. Below are just a few examples of the treatments we have:

  • Ibuprofen and Codeine - 32 Tablets - This medication combines the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of ibuprofen with codeine for strong pain relief.
  • Voltarol Back & Muscle Pain Relief 1.16% Gel - 100g - Voltarol is a pain-relieving gel that soothes back pain in addition to other strains, sprains, and bruises. 
  • Galpharm Paracetamol 500mg - 16 Caplets - Paracetamol is an effective painkiller that can help alleviate your back pain and other pains.
  • Care Epsom Salts - 300g - Epsom salts can be used as bath salts to help relieve your back pain. Soaking in these is particularly effective for treating sports injuries and sore muscles.
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    We hope this guide on back pain has helped you to better understand the condition and has provided you with some insightful tips on how to alleviate it. If you would like to know more about the different back pain treatments we provide at Pharmacy Prime or have any other enquiries relating to our products, please get in touch with us. A member of our friendly team will soon be in touch with you.