Back problems


Your spine is made up of lots of small bones called vertebra.

The first 7 vertebra make up your cervical spine, the next 12 make up thoracic spine and the final 5 make the lumbar spine.

Below the lumbar spine is your sacrum and your coccyx which is sometimes known as the ‘tail bone’.

Between the vertebrae are small discs called intervertebral discs.

Nerves exit at each level in the spine and supply different parts of your body. Your spine is designed to protect your spinal cord, provide movement and flexibility.



Taking care of your back to prevent injury is very important. Even small loads (such as a shopping bag) can cause pain if lifted incorrectly. Estimating how heavy an item is often difficult and this can be coupled with an uneven distribution of weight or inadequate handling positions (e.g. a large box of books).

We teach coping techniques once an incident has occurred. However we encourage everyone to think about their sitting posture, lifting techniques, over-stretching and turning, as well as organising their home to help prevent injury in the first place.


Resources for Patients

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Management of chronic low back pain

Back pain can be categorised into two types: acute or chronic.

Acute pain can be caused by tissue damage from an injury. All
tissues go through a natural healing time after an inflammatory
period. This can take a few weeks to months. You will be
encouraged to continue moving and you will gradually return
back to normal function.

However, pain can still persist even after the initial injury has
healed. This type of pain will be defined as chronic pain if it lasts
over three months and at this time the cause becomes more
complex. At this point, ongoing pain is to do with the nervous
system rather than damaged structure … read more


Further Information

There are a number of websites that you may find useful regarding taking care of your back:

Link to website

NHS Choices

NHS Choices was launched in 2007 and is the official website of the National Health Service in England.

Link to website

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Founded in 1894, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has grown to become the profession’s largest membership organisation.

Link to website

Arthritis Research UK

Our focus to 2020 is to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis so those seeking help from Arthritis Research UK are able to make informed choices and feel supported so they can say “I am in control, I am independent and I am recognised”.