With severe or acute back pain, when even standing for a while is too painful, the following can help:

  • Lie down – but get up every 25 minutes and walk about quietly for 5 minutes then lie down again. Walking might be a bit painful, but it will help speed recovery in small amounts.
  • When lying down, fidget a lot. Changing  your lying position frequently is good.
  • As the condition improves, gradually increase your walking to lying ratio, eg lie for 20 mins and walk for 10 mins, then lie for 15 mins and walk for 15 mins etc.
  • Take over-the-counter medication: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or paracetamol.
  • Use heat. A hot water bottle with water from hot tap is fine. Use for no longer than 10 minutes. You can repeat this every 2 hours.

Most acute back pain will start to improve within 2 – 4 days.

If the acute pain persists, see a health practitioner for more help.