Health conditions

Low back pain

What is low back pain?

Over a lifetime, 60 to 80 per cent of the population will experience low back pain.

This pain can:

  • significantly affect your quality of life
  • reduce the quality of life for the people who are caring for you.

What causes low back pain?

Low back pain can be specific or non-specific. Non-specific is the most common condition. Non-specific means that the reason for the pain is not clear.

Specific low back pain could result from a condition, such as:

Diagnosis of low back pain

Your healthcare professional can assess the risk of serious disorders causing low back pain. They can guide you on the best treatment and management of your pain.

Treatment and management of non-specific low back pain

Current recommendations for non-specific low back pain include:

  • most low back pain is not serious and will get better
  • move early and avoid prolonged bed rest
  • carefully pace your activity (do little bits often)
  • stay active
  • use simple analgesia (for example paracetamol).

Where to get help

  • See your doctor or healthcare professional
  • Visit painHEALTH (external site), a website developed by WA Health, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia. painHEALTH is dedicated to helping sufferers of osteoarthritis and other forms of chronic pain and musculoskeletal pain
  • Visit healthdirect (external site) or call 1800 022 222



This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.