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Non-specific back pain

Sometimes people experience back pain that can last weeks or months, but for which no specific cause can be identified. Several parts of the back, including joints, discs and connective tissues may be contributing to the problem, but it is not always possible to pinpoint the exact source of pain. Doctors call this non-specific back pain. Usually, pain is mild or moderate in intensity but in some cases, back pain can be severe.

The lower back is the area most often affected, and sometimes pain radiates to the upper part of the legs, but the pain is worst in the back itself. Symptoms include tension, soreness and/or stiffness.

Non-specific low back pain is very common, affecting about one-third of adults in the UK each year. About one in five people with this condition will consult their GP about it, and even if your doctor is not sure why you have back pain, he or she will be able to help you manage the pain and resume your normal daily activities.

BackDiagnosing your back pain