This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Causes of back pain

Back pain is more common in tasks that involve:

Warning signs

If you have severe pain which gets worse over several weeks, or if you are unwell with back pain, you should see your doctor.

Back pain is not usually due to any serious damage or disease. The pain usually improves within days or a few weeks, at least enough to get on with your life. Only a few people have back pain that is caused by a more serious issue such as a slipped disc or a trapped nerve and even these usually get better by themselves.

X-rays and MRI scans can detect serious spinal injuries which are very rare but they don't usually help in ordinary back pain.

If you do have back pain and suddenly notice any of these symptoms, which are rare, you should see a doctor straight away:

Updated 2011-09-08