Lower Back Problems Self-Help Introduction

Most people suffer from lower back problems (low back pain or low back related leg pain) at some point in their lives.

They are very common. The majority of the time it doesn’t mean actual damage to your back.

If it’s a new thing, often you don’t need to seek advice from a medic or therapist for your lower back problem. X-rays, scans and treatment are not usually needed.

Most people with low back pain just need to keep moving and the pain will improve with time.

Nearly all low back pain begins to fade within two weeks and settles within six weeks. For more information about long lasting low back pain see our 10 back facts leaflet.

Occasionally patients with low back pain will have low back related leg pain. Some patients will only have leg pain and not experience low back pain.

If you have low back related leg pain you may have sciatica or lumbar spinal stenosis.

About half of people with sciatica, (a type of low back related leg pain) will have significant improvement by 12 weeks without any specific treatment.

See our patient information/educational resources pages for more details about sciatica and lumbar spinal stenosis.

Please see below for possible causes of low back problems and our other web pages for recovery and management advice.