Guest blog from: Charlotte Dyke, of Black Pear Physiotherapy, all about back pain.

As you may know, Worcester’s top-rated physiotherapist Black Pear Physio is now based at SO Podiatry clinic. Charlotte has years of experience and has helped 100’s of patients in her 14 years since graduating from University.

Read on to find out all about back pain, what you can do to help, prevent, and understand your back pain.

Back Pain

Back pain is very common, but it can be quite scary when it happens. Back pain is a relatively common health issue in the United Kingdom, affecting a significant portion of the population. According to available data, it is estimated that around 60-80% of adults in the UK experience back pain at some point in their lives. so if you have it, you’re not alone! Here are a few tips for if you do get back pain and how to work your way through it.

There’s a list at the bottom of this blog to highlight symptoms which require immediate attention. If you don’t have any of these, you’re otherwise feeling well and you haven’t fallen from a height or anything similar (if you’d normally go to A+E for it, you probably should be there, rather than reading this blog!) then this is for you.

What is wrong with my back?

Many people want to know what is wrong with their back. Quite often, even with imaging (MRI/X-ray) we just don’t find out. Most people do not need any form of imaging for their back pain and manage it well either on their own or with help from medical professionals.

Just because we can’t see a physical cause on imaging, it doesn’t mean that you are making it up or that it won’t get better. It is not possible for clinicians to feel a ‘slipped disc’ or ‘trapped nerve’ – we use our whole assessment to make a judgement on what is wrong so that we can help you manage your back in the most appropriate way.

Should I rest it?

Movement is key to preventing stiffening up (and therefore more pain) and to prevent your muscles from weakening. However, short periods of rest may be needed in between moving. The general aim is to keep changing position (every 20 min) and to do some gentle movement, such as walking, as soon as you are able to.

Should I take painkillers?

Many people avoid taking painkillers for a variety of reasons. If your pain is affecting your ability to do your normal daily activities or the exercises given to you by your physiotherapist, it is worth considering.

Your GP or Pharmacist can guide you on what is appropriate for you to take.

Back pain - Black Pear Physio

Will the pain come back?

Unfortunately, a lot of back pain reoccurs. However, for many of our back pain patients, this does not impact their life very much, as they know how to recognise it and manage it if it starts.

We are here to help them if and when they need us to – we do not need to see the vast majority of patients routinely.

When should I see a physiotherapist?

You can see us at any point in your back pain journey. If it’s been there for a few minutes but is worrying you, we’re happy to take your call and book you in asap.

Similarly, if you’d prefer to wait and see if it settles and have checked the list of questions below, that’s fine too.

If you’re unsure, please give us a ring or pop us an email and we’ll do our best to guide you. We can see you for a one-off session (if you just want to check what you’re doing or you are waiting for your NHS appointment) or for a longer course of treatment.

How else can I get rid of the pain?

Movement is key. It stops you from getting more pain from stiffening up and helps to get the painful area working again. Heat (hot water bottle wrapped up) or ice (wrapped in a tea towel for a maximum of 10 minutes) may help.

Please wrap them up to prevent heat or ice burns though – ice burns are more common than you might think as the area gets numb so you don’t feel it!

Manual therapy or acupuncture (from a suitably qualified professional) can help too, but often we use these to enable you to do your exercises more rather than as a stand-alone method of eliminating pain.

How do I stop the pain returning?

The evidence (and our experience!) tells us that exercise is key.

This is often a combination of specific exercises designed for you by your physiotherapist along with your chosen sport/activity.

Any other questions?

Get in touch – you can contact us by email, phone, via our website, or via our Facebook page.

You can book an appointment through any of these methods or via the link on our website.

A note of caution about back pain:

If any of the following symptoms develop (not something you’ve had long-term and already been investigated for!) then you need to go to A+E and they will assess you as an urgent case. This needs to be done urgently, it’s not something to wait for:

  • Loss of feeling/pins and needles between your inner thighs or genitals.
  • Numbness in or around your back passage or buttocks.
  • Altered feeling when using toilet paper to wipe yourself.
  • Increasing difficulty when you try to urinate.
  • Increasing difficulty when you try to stop or control your flow of urine.
  • Loss of sensation when you pass urine.
  • Leaking urine or recent need to use pads.
  • Not knowing when your bladder is either full or empty.
  • Inability to stop a bowel movement or leaking.
  • Loss of sensation when you pass a bowel motion.
  • Change in ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate.
  • Loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse.

If you’re unsure on anything at all, just give us a call and we’ll help and advise you of the best route to take.


Wu A, March L, Zheng X, Huang J, Wang X, Zhao J, Blyth FM, Smith E, Buchbinder R, Hoy D. Global low back pain prevalence and years lived with disability from 1990 to 2017: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Ann Trans Med 2020; 8(6): 299-313.

Finucane LM, Downie A, Mercer C, Greenhalgh SM, Boissonnault WG, Pool-Goudzwaard AL, Beneciuk JM, Leech RL, Selfe J. International framework for red flags for potential serious spinal pathologies. J Orth Sports Phys Ther 2020; 50(7): 350-372.

de Campos TF, Maher CG, Fuller JT_,et al._ Prevention strategies to reduce future impact of low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2021;**55:**468-476.