Low Back Pain

What is low back pain?

Low back pain is any pain that occurs in the lumbar spine (See purple area in image).

What causes low back pain?

There are a number of causes for low back pain, it could be muscular, or joint pain.  However, most commonly (unless there has been an injury, or underlying medical condition) general poor posture is often the root cause.  

However, to rule out, or identify any underlying health issue, you should first speak to your doctor.


As a population, we are more and more sedentary and often have office based jobs that require us to sit down all day.  To put it simply, this is just not good for your body; in fact doing anything for a long time is not good for you.  You wouldn't work-out in the gym all day every day, and certainly not doing just one type of movement.  

Yet we think it's perfectly acceptable to sit all day, as it's not working our bodies...right?

Wrong! Sitting down (especially slouching) forces muscles which are supposed to help us move around to sit at a pre-determined length indefinitely.  It's a low intensity version of holding your arm out at 90˚ when you start work and not moving it at all...until lunchtime. 

What we should be doing is varied and interesting movements for short spaces of time, mechanically speaking that's how we evolved to be.

image of spine

Standing still all day can be just as bad

Like sitting down, standing still all day can also be a problem, especially if you have issues with your feet. Again, the solution here is to try and mix it up and move around.

Suitable therapies

There are a number of alternative therapies recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE); the body that offers best practice guidelines to the NHS. These include;

  • Exercise and postural therapies (for example, general exercise to manage low back pain; specific exercises for the lower back; yoga, group-based and individualised exercise programmes and Alexander technique)
  • Manual therapies including massage
  • Electrotherapy
  • Orthotics and appliances
  • Acupuncture

Self-management techniques

Self management is an important part of recovering from low back pain, as well as preventing it from re-occurring.  However, it is important to know the stretches and/or exercises that will be beneficial to you as an individual, as some may not be. You should always ask your doctor/therapist for exercise advice before attempting any self management.


James Barnett