Lower back pain affects one in ten people and is the leading cause of disability in the UK.
Between 2016 and 2017 there were 8.9 million work days lost due to musculoskeletal disorders, of which back pain made up 38 per cent of cases, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It is also one of the most common ailments people in the UK seek for pain relief.
In a survey by LloydsPharmacy they discovered that 52 per cent of patients using their pain management service had back pain.
Additionally, the ailment is searched for over 60,000 times online, as sufferers look for cures and causes.
However, Anshu Bhimbat, a pharmacist from LloydsPharmacy, explained that it can be a challenging question to answer with the click of a mouse.
“It can be very difficult to diagnose why people suffer from lower back pain,” she said.
“Not only is each patient different but there could be a combination of factors which cause lower back pain.
“Lower back pain could be a result of a simple muscular sprain or tear, which may be the case from a sport injury, heavy lifting or even poor posture.”
Bhimbat said that in these cases back pain should be easily relieved with the help of an anti-inflammatory topical gel or painkiller.
However, if lower back discomfort is caused by something more serious other treatment may be required.
“If the pain is more intense and starts to become chronic it could indicate disc damage,” she warned.
“Your disc could be slipped, ruptured or herniated.
“If your spinal disc is damaged in this way pressure will be placed on the spinal nerves which can cause pain.”
In addition to back pain, a slipped disc may cause neck discomfort and numbness, a tingling sensation and weakness in other areas of the body, according to the NHS.
Lower back pain accompanied by shooting pain down the back of one or both legs may point to a herniated or ruptured disc, for which surgery may be required.
According to the NHS, you should see a doctor about your back pain if it doesn’t go away within a few weeks, it stops you doing day-to-day activities, it gets severe or worse over time and if you are worried or struggling to cope.
While lower back pain is most common, discomfort around the middle of your back could indicate pancreatic cancer.