Back problems are common, with approximately 8 out of 10 people experiencing back pain at some time in their lives. In most cases the cause is not serious and, with the right guidance and support, people recover without the need for specific treatment or specialist help.
If you are having trouble coping with your back pain or are not managing to gradually return to normal activity your doctor will be able to assess your problem and provide advice.
How to manage low back pain
Low back pain can be helped by many things that you can do for yourself. The best advice is to keep gently active, even if it causes some extra pain. Taking pain relief regularly is important to help you keep moving and in most cases paracetamol or anti-inflammatories are best.
Sciatica is pain that travels down the back of your leg due to pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The pain in the leg is often more severe than the back pain and you may also notice tingling, numbness or weakness in your leg or foot. The early management of sciatica is very similar to managing low back pain and involves keeping moving. It may also be important to discuss what medications are best for relieving sciatica with your doctor.
If you have had back pain for less than 12 weeks X-rays and other scans such as CT and MRI are not required. If after four weeks your sciatica is severe, your doctor may recommend scans.
There are some exceptions to these rules and if your doctor has particular concerns, scans may be requested at an earlier stage. Further information about why scans may or may not needed see the scans and low back pain page.
Use of the information and data contained within this site or these pages is at your sole risk.
If you rely on the information on this site you are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency or completeness.
This site includes links to other websites operated by community, business and government.
These linked websites will have their own terms and conditions of use and you should familiarise yourself with these.
All linked websites are linked 'as is' and the Government of South Australia:
does not sponsor, endorse or necessarily approve of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations regarding the quality, accuracy, merchantability or fitness for purpose of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations that material on other websites to which this site is linked does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person anywhere in the world; and
does not authorise the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material in other websites by linking this site to those other websites.
If you use automatic language translation services in connection with this site you do so at your own risk.
The information and data on this site is subject to change without notice. The Government of South Australia may revise this disclaimer at any time by updating this posting.
The Government of South Australia, its agents, instrumentalities, officers and employees:
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information and data contained on this site
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or usefulness of any translation of the information on this site or any linked website into another language
make no representations as to the availability of the site and the availability of websites linked from or to the site
accept no liability however arising for any loss resulting from the use of the site and any information and data or reliance placed on it (including translated information and data)
make no representations, either expressed or implied, as to the suitability of the said information and data for any particular purpose
accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to a user's computer, software or data occurring in connection with or relating to this Site or its use or any website linked to this site
do not represent or warrant that applications or payments initiated through this site will in fact be received or made to the intended recipient. Users are advised to confirm the application or payment by other means.