Lower back pain – common problem, simple solutions

  • Lower back pain describes an ache and/or sharp pain across the lower back without referred pain into legs or pins & needles or numbness
  • The cause of LBP can vary greatly, from muscle overload to lumbar joint stiffness or stiff hips, and there is typically no obvious pathology causing the symptoms
  • The vast majority of treatment approaches to LBP have been proven to be mildly effective compared to no treatment but not as effective as a gradual return to activity and strength exercises


  • Strength exercises are the most proven method of resolving LBP and paracetamol is most effective at managing symptoms during an episode
  • Remaining active is vital to a speedy resolution but avoid any activity with unpredictable movements (eg. Contact sports), movements to end of range (eg. Surfing) and fatiguing exercise (eg. Heavy strength training)
  • For a sitting position with less pressure on the lower back, ensure the seat is firm and your knees are lower than your hips with feet flat on the floor


  • Obtaining a scan for LBP is not helpful as there is no clear cause in the majority of cases. The exception is for specific pathologies such as bone fractures or nerve root compromise
  • Waking up in the early hours of the morning with LBP is not due to sleeping position. It’s most commonly due to lumbar joint inflammation and responds well to a short course of anti-inflammatory meds
  • Avoid bed rest as this tends to worsen the symptoms and extend the episode
Read next:  Groin pain treatment

Comments are closed.