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Acute low back pain advice

Low back pain can originate from many structures. These include the strong ligaments that connect the vertebrae, the discs that lie between the vertebrae providing cushioning, facet joints which help to ensure smooth alignment and stability; and the nerves that emerge from the spine.

It may be that you need to alter your posture, strengthen specific muscles, stretch in certain ways and learn to move correctly. The good news is that research has now shown that by strengthening the deep abdominal and low back muscles the incidence of recurrence can be reduced dramatically.

In the event of a bad attack:

  • Avoid any activity that increases your pain, especially if it produces referred leg pain. These will most likely include:
    • Car journeys
    • Bending forwards
    • Lifting
    • Sitting
  • Do not have a bath, it places your back in a flexed position and can be difficult to get in and out of.
  • When coughing and sneezing, do not bend forwards, stand straight.
  • When lying down try out the following positions:
    1. Side lying with a pillow between your knees
    2. Lying on your stomach flat or with a pillow under you
    3. Lying on your back with one or two pillows under your knees
    4. Lying on your front with your elbows propped up as if to read a book
  • When getting in and out of bed roll onto your side first.
  • If you experience the following symptoms see your doctor urgently:
    • Bladder or bowel disturbance
    • Tingling or numbness in the groin or 'saddle' area
    • Balance alteration or giving way in your legs
    • Bilateral pins and needles or numbness

NB: Extended bed rest was once regarded as the best treatment for low back pain; this is no longer the case. It may be of benefit for the first 24-48 hours, from then on it is important to resume normal activities. If you are having difficulty doing so physiotherapy treatment may help you, particularly as it focuses not only on treatment of an acute episode but on rehabilitation and prevention of recurrence.


Depending on the cause and type of pain, physiotherapy can help treat back pain in a variety of ways:

  • Mobilisation and manipulation
  • Acupuncture and taping techniques
  • Specific spinal stabilisation exercises
  • Postural and movement assessment using video analysis and muscle bio-feedback machines
  • Ergonomic advice and sport specific technique advice to prevent recurrence

Please contact us to book an appointment if you are suffering from back pain and live in Kensington, Notting Hill or West London, or for more information on how we can help you.

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Areas covered

Our services cover the following locations (if your location is not listed please don't hesistate to get in touch and ask us if we can help you):

Kensington - W8 - W14 - SW7 - Notting Hill - W11 - W2 - W10 - Chelsea - SW10 - Knightsbridge SW1 - SW3 - Fulham - W6 - Hammersmith - W6 - W12 - Hyde Park and Holland Park, Paddington, Bayswater, Marylebone W1, W2

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Sprint Physiotherapy
Sprint Physiotherapy
2 Drayson Mews
W8 4LY
Paddington Clinic
Sprint Physiotherapy
Winston Churchill Wing
St Mary's Hospital
Winsland Mews
W2 1NY
Hammersmith Clinic
Hydrotherapy Department
Ground Floor, South Wing
Charing Cross Hospital
Fulham Palace Road
W6 8RF
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