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Amy asked...

My lower back is in pain.

I have been travelling a lot over the last month and my lower back is in pain. I don't want to continue to take ibuprofen. What do you recommend?

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The answer

Low back pain is a very common problem that most people will suffer from at some point in their life.  In most cases the pain subsides on its own within 12 weeks. If you have any of these other more worrying symptoms,  you need to see your doctor immediately. Fever of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above, unexplained weight loss, swelling in the back, constant back pain that doesn't ease after lying down, pain in your chest or high up in your back, pain down your legs and below the knees, loss of bladder or bowel control, inability to pass urine, numbness around your genitals, buttocks or back passage or pain that is worse at night. Your doctor would be able to recommend a referral for physiotherapy as an alternative to painkillers. It may help the pain and will certainly help prevent further back pain in the future. You might also like to try exercises to help prevent future back pain, such as Pilates. Paracetamol is a perfectly safe alternative to ibuprofen when the pain is bad.

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