Low Back pain - treatment


Treatment of back pain

If your back pain is non-specific, your GP & Physiotherapist will usually recommend conservative rehabilitation as the first form of treatment. This consists of self-help and physiotherapy techniques.

Your GP may also prescribe or advise pain relieving medications. If your symptoms are more severe, or do not settle down you may be referred to a specialist, to assess whether you are suitable to have spinal injections or surgery. These measures are not usually required with most forms of back pain, and aren't suitable for everyone.


There are a number of things you can do to help relieve low back pain.

  • Stay active and continue your daily activities as normally as you can. Bed rest may actually make low back pain worse, so try to limit the time you spend resting to a minimum.
  • Apply hot or cold packs to the affected area. You can buy specially designed hot and cold packs from the White House clinic. If you prefer, you can apply a cold compress, such as ice or a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a towel. Don't apply ice directly to your skin as it can damage your skin.
  • Use a TENS machine to help control your pain. Speak to your Physiotherapist to see if this option would be suitable for you.
  • Do some gentle mobilising and strengthening exercises. One of our Physiotherapist's can recommend some specific exercises for you to try


A Physiotherapist is a health professional who specialises in maintaining and improving movement and mobility. After a thorough assessment they may recommend a course of manual therapy involving spinal mobilisation or manipulation, and techniques such as acupuncture, massage, electrotherapy & supportive taping. Other treatment can include exercises, stretches & postural advice.

All of the physiotherapists at the White House have extensive training & experience of treating patients with low back pain. They employ up to date & medically researched treatment techniques.

They can help advise you on the best treatment options if you are suffering from low back pain, and guide you through the recovery process.


Taking an over-the-counter painkiller (such as aspirin or paracetamol) or anti-inflammatory medicine (such as ibuprofen) is often enough to relieve acute low back pain. You can also use creams, lotions and gels that contain painkillers or anti-inflammatory ingredients. Ask your GP or Physiotherapist if you need further advice on this.

If your pain is severe or chronic, your GP may prescribe stronger medicines such as diazepam, morphine or tramadol. However, these aren't suitable for everyone because they can be addictive and cause side-effects. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice and read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.


Back pain, even if it's chronic, can usually be treated or managed successfully, but about one in 10 people have ongoing problem. Back surgery is really only considered as a last resort if the pain is related to a specific cause.

Prevention of back pain

Good back care can greatly reduce your risk of getting low back pain. To look after your back, make sure you:

  • take regular exercise - walking and swimming are particularly beneficial. Pilates and Yoga are often highly recommended exercises to try for long term spinal health
  • try to keep your stress levels to a minimum
  • bend from your knees and hips, not your back
  • maintain good posture - keep your shoulders back and don't slouch

Some general tips

  • Speak to your GP or Physiotherapist for advice
  • Use something to help control the pain
  • Stay active and at work if you can do
  • Use a lumbar roll to improve your posture
  • Avoid activities that can aggravate your symptoms
  • Remember that back pain is rarely due to something serious

Steve Canning

Clinical Director & Senior Physiotherapist

Steve is the Clinical Director and a Senior Physiotherapist at the White House clinic and has worked at the clinic since 2005. He qualified with a BSc in Physiotherapy from Sheffield Hallam University in 2002.

Steve Canning

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