Lower Back Pain Symptoms & Treatment

Lower back pain (LBP) can significantly affect your life by interrupting your everyday activities such as work, sleep, and enjoyment. Any pain in your lower back can cause concern and in many cases, you should be assessed by a medical professional.

Understanding your lower back pain can bring you peace of mind. Knowing what you are experiencing will also help you describe your symptoms to your doctor or physiotherapist.

Keep reading to discover why you are experiencing lower back discomfort, how to ease the aching, and when to seek medical attention.

What Is Lower Back Pain?

Many people experience this type of back pain, as many as 30-80% of people worldwide are affected by low back pain. This type of pain is a common reason for missed days at work and visits to the doctor.

The lower back is known as the lumbar region and starts below the rib cage and ends at the sacrum. The lumbar region generally consists of five vertebrae, from L1 to L5.

Any pain, aches, or discomfort found in the lumbar region is usually attributed to LBP. This pain can range from acute pain lasting a few days, which normally goes away on its own or with self-care, to chronic pain lasting for longer than three months.

Back pain originating in the lower region can be caused by several factors such as injury and strain as well as structural problems. When this pain interrupts your daily functioning such as struggling to walk, sleep, or work and lasts longer than a few days, you should seek medical attention.


Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that can cause LBP. This is a result of the discs going through normal degenerative changes due to ageing. This type of arthritis can happen at any vertebra in the lumbar region as well as on multiple levels.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you will experience inflammation and pain as well as the possibility of developing stenosis.

Treatment Options for Back Pain

Depending on the severity of your lower back pain, you can get relief from home treatments or medical treatments. If your low back pain doesn’t respond to home remedies, is extreme, lasts for more than a week, or gets progressively worse, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Home Treatment Options

Mild LBP usually goes away on its own or after using a few home remedies. If your back pain is mild and doesn’t interrupt your daily activities, try these natural remedies.

Heat and Ice Therapy

LBP is often relieved by using heat or ice therapy on the area, however, it is important to listen to your body. If one method increases the pain, try the alternative or visit a medical professional.

A heating pad often reduces back pain by relieving stiff muscles but caution should be exercised. Make sure the heating pad is not too hot, to prevent skin burns. Place the heating pad on the affected areas for 15-minute intervals.

Ice is best used immediately after an injury or when the area is bruised or swollen to reduce inflammation. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time. If you don’t have an ice pack available, you can wrap frozen vegetables in a towel to use.


When you are experiencing lower back pain, exercise is probably not something you want to do. However, exercise has great benefits for low back pain, as long as it is low impact. Try going for a slow walk or do some yoga to reduce the pain.


Stretching should be a regular part of your weekly schedule but many people don’t stretch near enough as they should. Ask your physiotherapist for stretches that will help with LBP and advise how often to do them. You can also ask them to help you incorporate it into your daily activities.

Medical Solutions

When low back pain is severe, you should seek medical attention to help ease the pain and discomfort. You can book an appointment with a physiotherapist, a chiropractor, or your GP.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help with muscle and joint strains in the lumbar region. This type of therapy loosens stiff muscles and encourages healing within the body. Seek help from a professional with knowledge in lower back pain or a trained physiotherapist, as incorrect massage techniques can worsen the pain.

Massage therapy should be seen as only a part of the healing process along with active therapy that provides long-term pain management solutions.

Dry Needling

Dry needling works by stimulating the nervous system and releasing endorphins which result in pain relief. This method is also focused on the pain points to offer a concentrated solution to your back pain. The effects of dry needling boost the healing process directed at the specific areas of pain. However, dry needling has both benefits and risks and should only be carried out by a trained medical professional.

Muscle Relaxants & Analgesics

Muscle relaxants and analgesics offer short-term pain relief to help you manage back pain. Over-the-counter medication can be used, preferable nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

If over-the-counter medications don’t work, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to ease the discomfort while you work to correct the cause of your back pain. Muscle relaxants can cause drowsiness and impaired concentration and should be taken with caution.


Some severe cases of LBP could require surgery, especially if the cause is nerve compression that can’t be rectified by other measures. Surgery is often an option for structural problems of the spine if conservative management (non-invasive treatment options) is not successful.

If your low back pain is excessive and no other treatment options are working, ask your medical professional about surgical options. Although this should be seen as a last resort.

Preventative Measures

There are many prevention measures to reduce the chance of developing back pain or experiencing recurring back pain. While you can never fully avoid back pain, especially as you age, take these steps to look after your lower back:

●  Exercise regularly

●  Maintain a healthy weight

●  Lift heavy objects using your leg muscles rather than your back muscles

●  Create an ergonomic workstation

●  Strengthen your core, back, and pelvic muscles

●  Look after your mental health

Ultimately, our bodies are made to move regularly without strenuous repetitive movements throughout the day. Maintaining a healthy exercise routine based on your body’s capabilities will reduce the likelihood of developing severe back pain.

Being mindful of any repetitive movements that you carry out for long periods will help you notice when you need to stretch or move your body in different ways to prevent straining one area.

Final Thoughts

Lower back pain can cause anxiety, distress, and impact your daily life by interrupting your work, sleep, and enjoyment. Fortunately, there are many solutions to relieve LBP from home remedies to medical solutions.

Speak to a trusted health professional to determine the cause of your low back pain and possible treatment solutions.

At Pegram Physiotherapy we offer different treatments, to manage neuro-musculo-skeletal conditions such as lower back pain, offering long-term treatment and prevention solutions.