Back pain is not usually a cause for concern and it typically subsides within a few weeks or months on its own. Back pain mostly falls under “non-specific”, which means there is no obvious cause. It may simply be a case of picking up awkwardly.
“It can also be a result of a tumour causing a blockage in the stomach or duodenum (top part of the small intestines),” it adds.
Other serious causes of back pain
According to the NHS, other serious underlying causes of back pain include:
A broken bone in the spineAn infection
Cauda equina syndrome (where the nerves in the lower back become severely compressed)
Multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer).
“If you see a GP with back pain, they’ll look for signs of these,” explains the health body.
In most cases, back pain should either clear up on its own or can be remedied by making a number of lifestyle adjustments.
“Your GP may recommend that you take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) – for example, ibuprofen,” explains Bupa.
These can relieve back pain and help you to stay active – paracetamol alone doesn’t work quite so well for back pain.
“But NSAIDs are not suitable for everyone, so check the box or leaflet to see whether you can take the medicine first,” notes the NHS.
It adds: “Speak to a pharmacist if you’re not sure.”