I have back pain

What you can try at home

One in five people visits their GP in any given year because of back pain. Most cases of back pain can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and self-care aids and techniques.

Self-care tips:

  • Use paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief. If taking ibuprofen, make sure you take it with food. Read the Patient Information Leaflet before taking any medicine.
  • Hot or cold compression packs, available from larger pharmacies, can also help with the pain.
  • You can make your own cold compression pack by wrapping a bag of frozen peas in a towel.
  • Place a small firm cushion beneath your knees when you’re sleeping on your side. Or use several firm pillows to prop up your knees when lying on your back.
  • It’s important to remain mobile by, within reason, carrying on with your day-to-day activities, including work.
  • Stay positive. Studies show that if you keep positive, you’re likely to make a quicker recovery.
  • Take care when lifting objects.

When to seek professional help

If your back pain is no better after at least two weeks of self care, or if you develop other symptoms, your back pain gets worse or you need further advice, speak to your pharmacist or call 111. They can tell you if you need to contact your GP.

See more information on back pain.