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Identifying Back Pain

Most people will be affected by back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is the most common reason for work absences in the UK. Most frequently, the area affected is the lower back; with 80% of people affected at some point in their lives. The lower back refers to the area between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.

Symptoms of back pain include soreness and stiffness. Tension felt in the neck, shoulders, buttocks and thighs can also be a sign of back pain.

Back pain develops for many different reasons. It can be triggered by everyday activities at home and at work. It can occur all of a sudden when you twist your back awkwardly, or it may develop gradually over time as a result of sitting or standing badly.
In general, cases of back pain are not associated with serious disease. It often resolves within 12 weeks.
Back pain causes include:
• bending awkwardly
• lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling incorrectly
• slouching in chairs
• standing or bending down for long periods
• twisting
• over-stretching
• driving in a hunched position
• driving for long periods without taking a break
• overuse of the muscles, usually due to sport or repetitive movements (repetitive strain injury)

For back pain lasting more than 6 weeks, please consult your doctor