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Back pain

Most people will be affected by back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, more working days per year are lost to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), such as back pain and neck strains, than due to stress in Ireland. Most frequently, the area affected is the lower back; with up to 80% of people affected at some point in their lives. The lower back refers to the area between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.

Symptoms of back pain include soreness and stiffness. Tension felt in the neck, shoulders, buttocks and thighs can also be a sign of back pain.

Back pain develops for many different reasons. It can be triggered by everyday activities at home and at work. It can occur all of a sudden when you twist your back awkwardly, or may develop gradually over time as a result of poor posture from sitting or standing badly.

In general, cases of back pain are not associated with serious disease. In three quarters of individuals, back pain can often resolve within 12 weeks, however for some individuals pain may last for longer. If you have persistent back pain then you should speak to your doctor.
Causes of back pain include:
• bending awkwardly
• lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling incorrectly
• slouching in chairs
• standing or bending down for long periods
• twisting
• over-stretching
• driving in a hunched position
• driving for long periods without taking a break
• overuse of the muscles, usually due to sport or repetitive movements (repetitive strain injury)

For back pain lasting more than 6 weeks, please consult your doctor.