Back and neck pains are very common. More than four out of five of us will suffer from back pain, typically lower back pain, and two out of three of us will have neck pain, at some time in our lives. The pain can be associated with stiffness, muscle spasms and reduced motion. Back or neck pain can be short-term, lasting a few days or weeks, or it can continue for many months or even years. It's often very difficult to know exactly what causes back and neck pain. If there is no obvious cause then doctors will refer to it as ‘non-specific’.
Acute back or neck pain generally lasts for a few weeks. Acute back pain may be triggered by bad posture, bending awkwardly, lifting incorrectly or a disorder such as arthritis. Acute neck pain or a stiff neck may be caused by sleeping in an awkward position, prolonged use a computer keyboard, sitting in a draught or whiplash. Your GP will be able to offer recommendations to try and alleviate the pain such as over-the-counter painkillers, hot and cold compresses and suggestions for keeping mobile.