What should you do when you suffer from back pain?

Leanne Harvey, physiotherapy manager at Spire Roding Hospital, answers your questions about back pain.

"Dear physiotherapist,

"I have been experiencing back pain for over a year now following the birth of my first son. Over the last few weeks I have had occasional pain down the back of my left leg into my foot. I have been doing extra driving recently and I thought this may be the reason I’ve been getting the leg pain. What shall I do?

"Sarah in Woodford"

"Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your enquiry. At Spire Roding we treat a lot of people with back pain and now we also have a brand new Bone and Joint Centre opening where we can fully investigate the causes of the symptoms you describe."

What could be causing my pain?

"It sounds like your back has been through a lot over the last couple of years. Pregnancy, giving birth and looking after a young baby are all demanding on the body. Here are a few reasons this could be triggered:

  • Decrease in activity
  • Constantly lifting a newborn baby

"Try light activity inbetween driving and remember to keep your posture correct when lifting your child. Further to this, it is common to have other problems alongside back pain such as nerve sensitivity or problems but these are things we will look into fully and be able to diagnose."

Could it be something serious?

"Back pain is very common and can be extremely painful. However serious structural problems are much less common. If you are concerned, it is worth following your instincts and seeing a doctor or physiotherapist. Ask them to check for signs of serious structural problems and for advice on what to do next."

What should I do to manage my pain?

"Your pain has lasted over a year, so it is time to seek help. There are many possible causes of persistent back pain and lots of them are relatively easy to solve.

"You might need some help to improve your strength or flexibility, or you may need some hands-on treatment to manage muscle spasm or nerve pain. It might be that you are doing something repetitive that aggravates your back without realising – such as sitting badly when you feed your baby or standing in a way that overloads one hip.

"The important thing is not to worry or become frustrated with back pain, as this can make it worse. I would advise that you seek help and take action.

"Please, keep in mind that in order to get a precise diagnose you should see a specialist. At Spire Roding Bone and Joint Centre, during the first appointment your physiotherapist will undertake a comprehensive assessment that will take into consideration your physical presentation as well as your lifestyle. Once a diagnosis has been made a treatment plan can be tailored to your specific needs."

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© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)